Pepsi Rolls Out New Soda Machines

Pepsi released its own version of a “smart” beverage dispenser to test the waters and get a response from consumers. Bloomberg reported that the company released a new soda fountain called Spire that allows consumers to mix their own drinks.

“All of the units we’re deploying are what we call ‘smart equipment,'” Pepsi spokesman Jeff Dahncke told Bloomberg. “We can gather real-time insights and identify popular beverage customizations. Over time, this will allow us to tailor specific offerings based on consumer preferences.”

There are more than 1,000 combinations available on the largest Spire machine that feature not only Pepsi drinks but also lemonade, teas and shots of flavor including lime and vanilla.

Pepsi spent several years trying out different prototypes before they settled on Spire. According to Bloomberg, the soda company began testing the machines in late 2013 and began installing them in different cities throughout the country early this year.

Coke’s Freestyle
Coke introduced its Freestyle machine back in 2009. It dispenses 146 flavors and also allows customers to create their own flavored drinks. According to USA Today, Coke is working on a Freestyle app that will allow consumers to pre-mix and match drinks on smartphones. Individuals will then be able to hold phones up to the machine and receive the drink they pre-mixed.

Freestyle has a mobile-like look with a sleek design that resembles a sports car. USA Today stated that there are about 19,000 machines in 10,500 global locations. Many are found at domestic Burger Kings.

Some locations, including Moe’s Southwest Grill, said that sales are increasing by as much as 6 percent annually since the installation of Freestyle machines. Other food chains with Freestyles include Five Guys and Wendy’s, although McDonald’s is reportedly testing it at some New York City locations. Kennesaw State University in Georgia also installed Freestyle and found that it’s an attractive addition for its college population.

Both companies are looking for more innovative ways to attract customers as Americans become increasingly turned off by sugar-filled drinks and opt for healthier choices. However, Coke and Pepsi hope the touchscreen and customization options will target millennials and help to maintain the $76 billion industry, USA Today reported.

In order to be successful in the industry, the machines have to have a “technology cool factor” that will appeal to the younger masses, according to the source.

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