Thinking about drinking sparkling water, many people have in mind to carry heavy water tanks or a lot of bottles bought in a supermarket. SodaStream revolutionized the way of getting sparkling water into the home. They produce home carbonation systems that enable consumers to carbonate water at home.
The first invention of a home carbonation machine was in 1903. The Briton Guy Hugh Gilbey from W & A Gilbey Ltd., a gin manufacturer, wanted to offer a carbonated drink his guests could enjoy with their gin. The machine was large and unwieldy and it was mostly installed in state homes. The first home-carbonation machine that fitted well into homes and was affordable was created in 1955. SodaStream began in the UK and spread throughout Europe. Many times, the company changed hands, but in 1998, an Israeli company called Soda Club, bought SodaStream and since 2003, all their manufacturing happens in Israel, which is now the home base of all operations.
In the recent years, since Daniel Birnbaum took over as CEO, the brand was launched in many different markets and new machines and many new flavors were created, distributed to 41 countries around the world. In 2012, the “SodaStream Source Line” came to life, which was very energy efficient. This fit the growing pressure from environmental concerns and people becoming more concerned about their impact on environment, and it was even rewarded.
Today, the company calls itself the leader in the “market in technological advancements and quality products” and the “world’s largest manufacturer, distributor and marketer of home carbonation systems with our machines being sold in over 60,000 retail stores, in 45 countries worldwide”. SodaStream is seen as the head of a revolution against bottled and canned beverages. Their product is an alternative that is better for the planet compared to store bought soda.
The Innovation-Point of View
The inventor, Guy Hugh Gilbey, had the idea of the product for his existing guests. Therefore, it can be seen as a demand-pull invention, because he has seen the need to offer this water to the customers and then created a way to do so. The product was tailored to potential customers. Since the first idea for it came from one single person, the source of the innovation is an individual. But because it was for gin drinking guests, that were consumers of the gin manufacturing company the inventor was in, it is also connected to firms, and the firm is also a source of the innovation.
According to the four dimensions that are commonly used to categorize innovations, the SodaStream technology is a product innovation for the company itself. In contrast, for the users it is kind of a process innovation, because they do not need to buy their water in bottles in supermarkets and carry them home anymore. Therefore, it is a new form of the process of getting water for the customers. It is also a radical innovation because it was something totally new. Of course, there have been some smaller changes of the product over time, for example in the design, until today. The product was planned to be an additional service for the customers the inventor already had with the gin company. For this reason it can be defined as a competence-enhancing invention.
Why it is successful
The SodaStream meets a lot of trends and needs of the market that are important in today’s time. For example, the producers market themselves as environmentally friendly. Their product is sustainable, cost-saving for the customers and reduces waste from plastic bottles. Of course, also the growing awareness for health and well-being is met, as well as the trend towards personalization. This happens, for example, through the variety of flavors they offer for their water that fit to different tastes and are healthy. They are just put into the water and there are, for example, light and sugar-free versions, bio quality and just natural alternatives. Of course, SodaStream also offers different carbonation machines; some work with reusable plastic bottles, others with glass carafes. The plastic bottles can be bought in different versions and colors and some, as well as the glass carafes, can be cleaned in the dishwasher. The machines need insertable gas cartridges which can be exchanged for full ones at different retailers. The exchange both in the shops and in the machine are very easy.
The SodaStream is a perfect innovation for all people that do not want to carry heavy bottles, it is healthy and easy to create sparkling and/or flavored water at home. Additionally, care about sustainability and the environment are present. It is simple to use, very practical and has many positive impacts. In total, the SodaStream has many important advantages.