'By making this acquisition, PepsiCo is making a very strong statement about reduction of plastic'

SodaStream talks PepsiCo deal and eliminating plastic packaging in 2019

By Beth Newhart

- Last updated on GMT

“Recycling is not the solution because we know that a very high percentage of plastic waste is not being recycled."
“Recycling is not the solution because we know that a very high percentage of plastic waste is not being recycled."

Related tags Sodastream Sustainability Plastic Pepsico

In August PepsiCo announced it will acquire SodaStream, and since then SodaStream has continued to grow. And while the acquisition may make a 'strong statement' about plastic reduction, SodaStream says this isn't just about two companies: it believes all soft drinks brands will, sooner or later, have to look at alternatives to plastic.

After it was announced in August​ that PepsiCo would acquire Israeli-born SodaStream International for $3.2bn, it has continued to experience ‘significant growth’ in every market. In the US it has seen more than 30% year-over-year growth, challenging the competitive soft drink industry with an alternative to disposable bottles and cans.

By carbonating water and drinking it from reusable containers, SodaStream owners can cut back on thousands of single use soft drink bottles and cans that most often end up in landfills or oceans.

Stepping in the right direction

Jecka Glasman, general manager of SodaStream USA, told BeverageDaily “Recycling is not the solution because we know that a very high percentage of plastic waste is not being recycled. 150 million tons of plastic are floating in the ocean, with 8 million tons added annually.”

She advised that all beverage manufacturers who are not yet considering more sustainable packaging will soon be faced with the pressure to evolve. As the effects of climate change worsen, “regulation will kick in and we will have no choice, because otherwise we will not be able to survive.”

“I believe that all the beverage players in the space will very soon understand that this is the direction and they have to … move to glass and other materials, away from this harmful single use plastic,”​ Glasman said.

SodaStream’s goal to tackle the plastic crisis also extends to its own packaging, and is pledging to rid itself of plastic by the end of 2019. It currently sells several of its flavoring products in plastic bottles and plans to transition them all to glass.

Its strong stance against plastic was a stand out detail of the deal with PepsiCo, a global corporation whose products (often packaged in plastic) are used by consumers more than one billion times a day. Glasman believes SodaStream joining the PepsiCo portfolio is a good step in its environmental future.

“By making this acquisition, I think Pepsi is making a very strong statement about the direction, importance and value they see in our strategy and solution toward reduction of the plastic footprint,”​ she said.

Adapting out-of-home

The key to SodaStream’s appeal is its transformation of at-home beverages. Rather than spending hundreds of dollars on soda cans and bottles every year, SodaStream estimates that the average family can save 50% on drink purchases in the first year and spend just one-tenth of what they used to beyond that.

And though the company has found success, Glasman admits that it can be a challenge to sell a product that requires consumers to invest in an expensive machine and change their mindset on beverage-buying. But she believes that the more people become aware of the plastic crisis, the more accepting to change they will become.

“People will gradually become more conscious and reduce the usage. I think the younger generations get it faster; it’s easier for them. We see a huge engagement from teenagers and millennials,” ​Glasman said.

The water carbonation system is billed as economical, convenient and customizable for drinks enjoyed at home. SodaStream’s impact on plastic waste here may be substantial, but having an impact on the out-of-home market is harder.

Glasman said the company is considering ways to adapt the SodaStream system for the mass market in public spaces, but has no immediate plans at this stage.

“We’re looking at out of home, it’s part of the road map … It’s a huge sector that we’re definitely interested in developing.”

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Use it daily. I'm helping reduce waste, drink more water and saving money!

Posted by Ralph,

I use Sodastream as a sparkling water maker. That's the focus and trend these days. Add flavors from time to time or put fruit in it, but water that way I want it that day.

I use the 60liter cylinder that I get for $15 with my exchange. I have the Sodastream that has the auto carbonation. I like a lot of carbonation and usually use 4-5 "puffs". That cylinder is getting me about (50) 1 liter bottles. So I get right around 3 cans per bottle or 150 cans (1,800 ounces) per cylinder. That hits me. 150 cans out of the ocean, landfill and my refrigerator.

Lacroix cost $3.50 for eight 12 ounce cans. So 96 ounces for $3.50 = $0.0.36 per ounce
Sodastream cost me $15 for a cylinder and I get 1,800 ounces = $0.008 per ounce

It's a 1/4 of the cost and I know what's going in it! I fill with my own water. Even adding flavors from time to time, it's half the cost and better for the environment. It's good for mixed drinks as well :)

I hope to see more machines in the future.

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Sodastream is not a cost-effective alternative to buying premade soda.

Posted by Orcinus Orca,

I own a SodaStream machine, and even when not counting the cost of the machine itself or the proprietary and expensive plastic bottles required to carbonate the water (CAD$17 for a SINGLE plastic bottle with 2 small pieces of stainless steel trim? Ouch!) it is not at all a cost-effective way to consume soda, as claimed in this article. 50% the first year, and one tenth the cost in subsequent years? Not even close. I live in Canada, so I will be using Canadian dollars in my explanation below.

For starters, purchasing CO2 from Sodastream is extremely expensive. They charge CAD$37 to purchase a new CO2 tank outright, or CAD$20 to exchange an empty tank for a full one, which has less than $1 worth of CO2 in it. They also claim a single tank can carbonate 60 liters of water when in reality it's much closer to 40 liters with average carbonation levels. It's even fewer if you like strongly carbonated beverages. Even so, if we use their 60 liter number, that's a little over 33 cents per liter, just for carbonation, when using the exchanged-tank price.

Then when you add the cost of syrup, which is CAD$7 per bottle and each bottle flavors 9 liters of water, that's an additional ~78 cents per liter. This brings the total cost to CAD$1.11 plus tax per liter of produced soda. Both Pepsi and Coca-Cola are literally always on sale at every major grocery store every single time I go shopping, and I used to buy a LOT of Pepsi. The price is typically CAD$4 or even sometimes as low as CAD$3.50 for a 12 pack of cans. That's about 94 to 82 cents per liter. Even if you add the 10 cent deposit per can (which you get back anyways when you bring your empties to the bottle depot), it's still cheaper to buy canned pop. Clearly SodaStream is nowhere near as cheap as your article would have us believe.

I would really like to see Pepsi/SodaStream slash the prices on their consumables. Charging $20 for less than $1 of CO2 is highway robbery, and $7 for a bottle of syrup that only flavors 9 liters of pop is also on the rather steep side.

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