SodaStream Fires Its Caps Gun

SodaStream (NASDAQ: SODA  ) has been talking up its single-serve solution for flavoring its carbonated water for more than a year, introducing what is now known as SodaStream Caps at a European design show in April 2012. The product went on to be introduced overseas, and it's now being sold through Bed Bath & Beyond in its stateside debut. Bed Bath & Beyond was the first major chain to begin actively stocking and promoting SodaStream in this country, so it makes sense that it would be leading the way here before other retailers come aboard next year.

The patent-pending capsules contain soda syrups that are released into a SodaStream bottle by pressing down. SodaStream Caps are made of 100% recyclable material, and that's something that's important given how the company has been hammering away at the eco-friendly nature of its product when pitted against the canned and bottled soda giants. For anyone who's ever fumbled with a SodaStream flavor bottle despite the clever caps that double as measuring devices, Caps would seem an ideal solution. SodaStream Caps will also be a novel approach for folks who either like a lot of variety in their sodas or don't get through their syrup bottles fast enough after opening them. 

It's a simple method that makes the soda-making process even more convenient. If you don't believe it, check out the promotional video put out by SodaStream.

Yes, it certainly seems to look a lot like Green Mountain Coffee Roasters' K-Cup. The two companies have often been unfairly joined at the hip by investors. Yes, they are both growing quickly as they champion fresh beverages that can be made at home. SodaStream and Green Mountain both toil in the "razor and blades" model, practically giving away the hardware at cost and making their real profits on the refills. SodaStream Caps isn't going to kill those comparisons anytime soon, though it should be pointed out that SodaStream's real blade is the CO2 refills, since anybody can put out soda syrup. 

This still comes out at a critical time for SodaStream. The Israeli-based company saw its stock take a hit last month after posting disappointing syrup sales. Flavor unit sales rose just 7% in the quarter -- plagued by a nearly 3% decline in the United States -- as carbonator refills and starter kits rose 34% and 27%, respectively.

SodaStream Caps will be hitting the stateside market at an ideal time, but they may be too expensive. They will come in packages of eight, selling for $5 to $10. The original syrup bottles also start at $5, but they're good for 12 liters of soda. These eight caps will naturally only be good for eight liters of carbonated pop. And if we're going by Bed Bath & Beyond's original pricing, the $5 is just for the cola and diet cola. The rest of the flavors start at $7 for an eight-pack, with the sampler packs priced at $10. 

Then again, SodaStream never was a strong proposition on the value end, when store brands can often be had for less. It's the freshness, health, convenience, and eco-friendly traits that ultimately sell the platform. SodaStream Caps can only help at this point.

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