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May 2, 2019 / Richard Hall

Beyond bottles for Coke and Pepsi

Just as other industries are having to reinvent themselves, from news to transport, is this now happening in soft drinks ?

It’s already happened in the shift to waters, teas and energy drinks, but how far could Coke and Pepsi move beyond bottles ?

Well, cans and vending as well as fountains and dispense have been around for a long time too. But there are new initiatives from both companies that may herald bigger future changes.

Within the past few days:

• PepsiCo has launched its Beyond the Bottle programme with two new hydration platform dispense machines – one free-standing and the other counter-top.

• Coca-Cola has extended its Dasani PureFill Water Station roll out.

Key features of both are smartphone apps for payment, wide personalised choice, hydration monitoring and potential for free plain water dispense.

So like social media, both companies are exploring the need to give away free content in order to build loyalty and meet concerns about sustainability.

In fact, each company has been trialling multiple other new non-packaged solutions for some time:

• Coca-Cola’s Freestyle touch screen soda fountain was introduced in 2009.

• PepsiCo first tested its Drinkfinity pods with re-usable bottles in 2014.

• Coca-Cola tried out a partnership with Keurig Kold pods from 2014 to 2016.

• PepsiCo purchased SodaStream International for $3,200 million in 2018.

So far, these experiments are small scale, but the possibilities are waiting to be uncapped.

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