PepsiCo announced today — Earth Day — the launch of a new mega SodaStream-like “hydration platform” that will dispense flavored still and seltzer water and hopefully reduce people’s use of plastic bottles.
Details are slim (the system doesn’t even appear to have a name), but this “hydration platform” has three parts. First there is a freestanding or countertop dispenser with a touchscreen, which lets you adjust the flavor, temperature and carbonation levels of your drink. The dispenser connects with a mobile app to let you know how much water you’ve been drinking (and how many bottles you’ve saved). And there are QR code stickers for reusable bottles that the dispenser can recognize and use to automatically bring up drink preferences.
Since the press announcement was light on specifics, we followed up via email with PepsiCo. In the company’s response it referred to the device as “Water Station,” but none of the announcement materials did, so that could be a working title. The company said the dispenser connects to a regular water line for installation and uses CO2 canisters for carbonation.
PepsiCo also said that the pricing is yet to be determined and may vary depending on the customer. The Water Station will roll out to “select workplaces and college and university campuses” starting this summer.
Aside from the Earth Day tie-in, it makes sense that PepsiCo is launching such a product. Traditional sugary soda sales are in a slump while sales of flavored waters and seltzers have been on the rise. Plus, this hydration station follows Pepsi’s $3.2 billion acquisition of home seltzer making system, SodaStream, in August of last year.
It’s always hard to gauge exactly how sincere giant companies are about wanting to reduce waste, but Pepsi has made other moves to cut down on its plastic use. The company is testing out selling its Tropicana orange juice in reusable glass bottles as part of the Loop program. And last year it launched its Drinkfinity flavored water system that uses recyclable flavor pods.
No word yet if there will be a home version of this hydration platform, but given the amount of flavored soda water I drink (Spindrift FTW!), I’d love to see one on my countertop.