Is SodaStream's (NASDAQ:SODA) future one rich with refrigerators dispensing sparkling water, single-serve flavor packs, stateside production, "store within a store" retail formats, and supermarket distribution?
The future of all of these things is within reach for the company behind the wildly popular beverage system that turns still water into sparkling soda.
SodaStream presented at the 15th Annual ICR XChange Conference this morning. The Israeli-based company has stormed back into favor lately, hitting a fresh 52-week high just last week. Showing off at an investor conference would seem to come naturally for a company that has bumped its guidance higher every single quarter over the past year.
However, the future should be even more exciting. There are several initiatives that will come into play later this year as well as some longer-term possibilities that may start coming together.
Happy 2013, SodaStream
What will the new year have in store for the buzzing pop star? Let's go over a few of the things that SodaStream singled out this morning.
We've known for some time that the company will air its first Super Bowl commercial next month. SodaStream revealed that it recently submitted the ad it wants to air to CBS. It shouldn't have any problem going through, though a little controversy wouldn't hurt. As SodaStream pointed out this morning, the "SodaStream Effect" ad getting banned in the U.K. was great publicity for the company. The TV ad on its YouTube channel went from 50,000 views the day before the spot was banned to more than 2.5 million streams just two weeks later.
Why is SodaStream choosing to invest in a Super Bowl ad now? Well, it feels that it finally has the stateside distribution in place to make it worthwhile. There are now 15,000 stores stocking SodaStream products in the U.S., and even existing merchants are beefing up their presence.
Bed Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ:BBBY) was an early believer in SodaStream, stocking the system and offering in-store carbonator exchanges ahead of the 2010 holiday shopping season. Well, Bed Bath & Beyond is now stocking 35 different syrups, tripling the number of flavors that it sells since introducing SodaStream in its stores.
Beyond the Super Bowl spot in three weeks, there are some other neat things on tap:
- SodaCaps. Taking a page out of the Green Mountain Coffee Roasters playbook of mess-free, single-serve portions, SodaStream is introducing K-Cup-like syrup containers that dispense into one-liter bottles by simply pushing down on them as bottle caps. SodaCaps will be introduced in the U.S. this summer, and a biodegradable version should replace the merely recyclable model later this year.
- Retail distribution should continue to expand. Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) began stocking SodaStream in May, giving the soda maker prized space on end-caps (the end of an aisle that provides better visibility) through March of this year.
- New markets coming online include Brazil and India. SodaStream's also taking over distribution in Mexico, which has one of the world's highest soda consumption per capita ratios.
- "Buy American" buffs will be happy to see SodaStream open a syrup production facility in the U.S. next quarter. It's just good business given that there were 2 million flavor bottles sold in this country during the third quarter alone.
Things should get even better beyond this year.
Yonah Lloyd -- SodaStream's chief corporate development and communications officer -- points out this morning that upscale grocer Wegmans is now testing SodaStream. Supermarket distribution has been one of the few voids for SodaStream in this country, but that appears to be changing.
Lloyd also went over some of the retail spaces that SodaStream has in European countries. These are more established markets, so it's not a surprise to see massive shelf space devoted to SodaStream consumables. An interesting slide shows a "store within a store" concept in Belgium, emphasizing the kind of market penetration that the company has outside of the U.S. at the moment.
Something else that may come into play in the future is a refrigerator that offers carbonated water alongside the still water and ice provided by many of today's appliances.
"This is happening," Lloyd claims, though it may take time until SodaStream and whichever appliance partner it teams up with finally hit the market with an innovation that may breathe new life into the refrigerator business -- and send shockwaves for makers of bottled seltzer and soft drinks.
The fizz biz is just getting started.