Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Is Starbucks Getting Ready to Attack SodaStream?

By Michael Lewis - Apr 22, 2013 at 7:00PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

The coffee behemoth is testing new soda products. Knowing the company can make a home brewer, should SodaStream investors be worried?

Last year, Starbucks (SBUX 0.91%) sent a warning shot across Green Mountain Coffee Roasters(GMCR.DL) nose with the introduction of the Verismo brewing system. As the latter's K-Cup patent expired and generics flooded the market, investors ran for the hills with the idea of do-no-wrong Howard Schulz moving his company in direct competition. Now, another home-brew innovator may be shaking in its boots as Starbucks has begun offering a new product in select stores. Should SodaStream (SODA) investors fear the Seattle juggernaut?

Starbucks soda?
Most are aware that Starbucks has branched out beyond the typical coffee and espresso offerings. The company offers energy-infused fruit beverages, smoothies, and a full line of accessories in thousands of locations. It's part of the reason that Howard Schulz may be the most beloved CEO in the country. At least, his shareholders think so.

It looks like that product expansion isn't slowing down, either. The company has rolled out new products in some stores, including an artisanal root beer, and ginger and lemon ales. They are only available at approximately 10 stores in the Seattle area, but a Starbucks blog quoted in BusinessWeek used language such as "crazy good" to describe the root beer. Given that Starbucks clearly has the ability to offer quality home brewers to its loyal customer base, are we going to be able to make Starbucks soda in the comfort of our homes?

Probably...
The Verismo has been a moderate success for Starbucks, but not really an issue for Green Mountain. The machine bridges a gap between traditional Nespresso-style machines and the Keurig, but it isn't really intended to replace either.

If the soda products test well, and I would be willing to bet they will (given the summer months are upon us), brace for a nationwide rollout of these tasty beverages. Will the company move into a home soda machine a la SodaStream? It's certainly possible. Should SodaStream investors be worried? I don't think so. The company's sales grew 50%  last year and it is the de facto name in the segment. Starbucks may be able to steal some market share, but I think it will be negligible to SodaStream's business.

Now, admittedly, this is merely speculation. There are a variety of paths the company can take -- including partnering with SodaStream, but given the tremendous ambition of Starbucks, it's far from fantasy.

Investors in SodaStream have little to worry about at this time. The company has hit 1% market penetration in the U.S. -- an incredible feat, but leaving much room to grow. On a forward-looking basis, the company is even cheaper than the soda giants, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo. You may soon be seeing tasty carbonated ales at a Starbucks near you, but don't let it spook your portfolio.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Starbucks Corporation Stock Quote
Starbucks Corporation
SBUX
$71.93 (0.91%) $0.65
SodaStream International Ltd. Stock Quote
SodaStream International Ltd.
SODA
Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. Stock Quote
Keurig Green Mountain, Inc.
GMCR.DL

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning service.

Stock Advisor Returns
327%
 
S&P 500 Returns
116%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 05/19/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.