Sales at SodaStream (SODA) are starting to bounce back in Europe, but they continue to slip in the soda-thirsty U.S. market. SodaStream is hoping to innovate its way out of its slump, and this week, that means introducing a new beverage maker and sparkling water flavors.
SodaStream Spirit features a slim product design and the snap-lock bottle insertion mechanism found in its premium carbonated beverage makers. However, it's hitting the market come September with a suggested retail price of just $79.
This won't be the cheapest SodaStream machine on the market. Splash Play and Fountain Jet are available at similar price points. SodaStream is selling Genesis at $59.99 for a "limited time only" through its website. This doesn't diminish the potential of Spirit. This is a new machine with many high-end features, but it's priced aggressively at the low end.
It's also fitting that it should launch in September, marking the one-year anniversary of Keurig Kold's debut at the ill-advised $369 price point. The now privately held Keurig Green Mountain packed a lot of features and big-name soda partners into Keurig Kold, but it's never going to fly at such a high price point. Consumers need to know that their upfront investments will pay off sooner rather than later. Keurig Kold didn't offer that value proposition, but the upcoming SodaStream Spirit does.
Spirit will start selling through select retailers in September and will be available nationally come January of next year.
That's not the only thing SodaStream is unveiling this week. It introduced two new sparkling mixes: coconut and natural energy. The tropical coconut water syrup will be available as Pure Coconut and Coconut Pineapple. The Natural Energy line is fueled by guarana and green coffee extract, and it's available in cranberry and green apple flavors.
SodaStream's flavor sales have been sluggish lately, unlike the CO2 refills that are actually growing in unit volume. This suggests folks are still using their SodaStream machines, but not flavoring the beverages with the company's own offerings -- if anything at all. Expanding the options with trendy coconut water and aspirational natural energy varieties makes sense.
SodaStream also updated the MIX product line it introduced at a trade show last year. MIX promises to be a hot product for bartenders and folks who fancy themselves as hobby mixologists, fizzing up any beverage. Now it's not exclusively about sparkling water.
Like any good fluid business, SodaStream will need to keep the pipeline flowing until it hits on that right combination of products that gets folks excited about the platform again. They don't all have to be hits, and even a single hot release could revive SodaStream's prospects as a growth darling.