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Background of the SodaStream

  -   19. March 2017
Source: grimmplatten/pixabay.com
Source: Franziska Blum

Source: Franziska Blum

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.

Result

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.

Who wrote it?

Franziska Blum

Franziska Blum studies at the European Management School in Mainz.

Comments

Samantha Beidinger
22-03-2017 12:42

After reading your article you totally convinced me of buying a SodaStream. I remember that my family used to have one when I was little – but actually do not know the reason why we draw back to bottle water. Especially the sustainability and individuality is great. I love the point of acting environmentally friendly combined with the possibility to drink flavored water with a sugar-free, healthy syrup. Furthermore, the aspect to leave the days of carrying-heavy-bottles behind us is one of the biggest advantages. It is a pity that SodaStream is not yet getting the attention and popularity it deserves!

Isabelle Hachenberg
21-03-2017 17:19

I have heard about SodaStream some time ago, but I never tested this seemingly great innovation. As I do not have a car and I have to carry my groceries, I always hated to carry those heavy water bottles. A friend of mine recommended a water filter system to me. I can filter water from the tab and make it completely drinkable. Only issue - the water is non-carbonated. With a SodaStream this problem would be solved. I'm surprised that the company is not promoting this product more, as I cannot see any commercials or advertisements. In my opinion, it is a very sustainable product because you do not have to buy plastic bottles thus the plastic production will decrease. Additionally in my eyes this innovation should get worldwide popularity ! I may buy one in nearer future

Theresa Möhn
20-03-2017 22:21

As I am using SodaStream in my everyday life I have to admit- I just love home carbonation! To be honest I bought the machine just because of pure and sheer laziness. Thinking of all the crates I would need to carry or my anyway far too long shopping list I am more than happy to have SodaStream at home. 10 seconds- and my sparkling mineral water is ready and even served in a handy bottle that I can use for take away as well. Personally I only see advantages. However SodaStream is not perfectly adapted to the German market: The capsules for carbonic acid refill are not available in every supermarket so I experienced that SodaStream customers often go back to common water bottles. Additionally I don't really recognize adverts or regular promotion for company and its product offer. Even I bought the machine because of a friend's recommendation and also recommended the machine to some of my friends, that didn't know the innovation either. I am convinced that pushing the popularity and improving the availability is necessary for the company- because the product itself is already phenomenal!

Patrick Hanke
20-03-2017 19:41

I find it really interesting to see that, after Mr. Gilbey first came up with the idea of a carbonation machine for private use, it took more than 50 years for a company to see the potential in this innovation and establish an affordable and smaller device for the general public. In addition, I was surprised that the idea of such an innovation existed already in the early 20th century. Especially since I have just recently, over the last couple of years, heard of friends and family using this product. It seems like the establishment in the market, at least in Europe, seems to have taken quite a long time reminding me of the history of 3D-printing. Your article was really comprehensive and gave an interesting insight into an innovation that is simple yet very effective and with a lot more growth potential in the next years.

Marie Schubert
20-03-2017 15:58

I know SodaStream from other households and I can totally understand all the advantages. I agree that it is way better for our environment and in addition it is a lot more convenient in terms of not carrying heavy bottles. For me personally SodaStream would not make sense because I do not like sparkling water and prefer non-carbonated water. However I think that people drinking sparkling water should seriously consider buying a SodaStream. You also could save a lot of money on the long run and it is definitely something good for the environment to not buy plastic bottles that much. Nevertheless I am, as Katharina does, wondering why not more people own one when it is full of advantages. Is it maybe because of the taste as you are using tap water? Are there other lacks? I also would be interested how successful they actually are also in other countries, because it seems that SodaStream is nothing extremely present here in Germany, but maybe that is a wrong impression.

Katharina Blanckart
20-03-2017 10:02

Your article about the creation of Soda Stream was very interesting to read. I can totally see which advantages Soda Stream comes with and the concept itself seems to be very promising. Yet I still have the impression much more people could and should make use of this product as regarding the people and households I know, there are barely any Soda Streams used. I would question myself “Why is that?” and maybe dig a bit deeper and find out if the concept might be missing something or look at their marketing a little bit closer. Besides that, Soda Stream provides the potential to make a sustainable change in our consumer behavior.

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