PepsiCo launches water bottle and flavored pod system

Dive Brief:

  • On the heels of its bubly sparkling water launch, PepsiCo is introducing a beverage system that includes a water bottle and flavored pods, called Drinkfinity, according to Co.Design.
  • The new Drinkfinity brand, which officially launched in the U.S. last week, offers 12 pods. Flavors include Mango Chia Flow, Pineapple Coconut Water Renew and Mandarin Orange Charge. One pod creates one beverage, which ranges from 30 to 80 calories.
  • One challenge the new beverage system faces is that the pods can’t be tossed into consumers’ regular recycling bins. A prepaid envelope is included with pod shipments, allowing customers to mail the pods to a location that has the ability to recycle them.

Dive Insight:

PepsiCo continues its push to be a flavored water powerhouse. Just last week it announced its bubly sparkling water line, and now it’s releasing a mail-order alternative to store bought flavored water.

There is good reason behind this herculean push into the better-for-you space. The company’s North American beverage business, which includes Mountain Dew and Gatorade, fell 6% for the fourth quarter of 2017, as consumers continue to turn away from sugary drinks.

The water bottle PepsiCo is selling is fairly straightforward, with the pods taking the spotlight on why the product stands out. Each pod has liquid and dry ingredients. The delivery system is apparently complicated enough that PepsiCo is launching Drinkfinity only online, where it highlights videos on how to use the product.

The resulting drink is a flavored, sweetened water. Unlike bubly sparkling water, Drinkfinity delivers a significant amount of sugar, albeit organic cane sugar. The Pineapple Coconut Water Renew has 17 grams of sugar and 80 calories. A 12 ounce classic Pepsi has 41 grams of sugar and 150 calories.

PepsiCo is marketing Drinkfinity as a healthier beverage that can be customized to a consumer’s tastes. One glaring problem is recycling. There is a large crossover with consumers who want healthier beverages and those who are concerned about the environmental impact of a product.

The prepaid mailer to send used pods to a recycling facility, may seem as an inconvenience. PepsiCo points out that a single pod produces 40% fewer carbon emissions than a typical 20-ounce plastic bottle, which may be enough to get some consumers on board.

It’s difficult to look at Drinkfinity and not immediately think of its coffee cousin, the Keurig. The convenience of the pods and controversy over recycling apply to both products. Keurig does now offer k-cups that are 100% recyclable, with a corporate promise to make all of their products recyclable by 2020.

While Keurig’s recent merger announcement with Dr Pepper Snapple didn’t motivate Drinkfinity’s creation – it’s been in development for years – it is a reminder that consumers haven’t given up interest in pods.