News Feature | May 22, 2014

PepsiCo Challenges Coca-Cola In More Than A Thousand Ways

By Karla Paris

PepsiCo Challenges Coca-Cola

Attendees at the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago, held May 17-20, had the opportunity to see PepsiCo’s answer to Coca-Cola.  Coca-Cola Freestyle made its debut in 2009 offering more than 100 beverage choices to providing solution for high-volume customers. 

PepsiCo unveiled its Spire portfolio, currently consisting of three state-of-the-art touchscreen fountain unit models that allow consumers to create their own personalized beverages.  The Pepsi Spire lineup currently includes three models, each designed to meet a specific set of foodservice customer needs:

  • Pepsi Spire 1.1 is a countertop self-service unit that allows consumers to create up to 40 beverage combinations using a 10-inch touchscreen.
  • Pepsi Spire 2.0 is a countertop self-service unit that allows consumers to create up to 500 beverage combinations using a 15-inch touchscreen.  This equipment is also available as a countertop crew-service unit for restaurant staff.
  • Pepsi Spire 5.0, which is launching soon, allows consumers to create more than 1,000 beverage combinations using a 32-inch touchscreen.  This equipment will be available as both a self-service countertop or as a free-standing unit.

Pepsi Spire 2.0 and 5.0 are also smart equipment, allowing PepsiCo and its customers to identify popular beverage customizations, gain real-time consumer preference insights, and remotely update touchscreen content to further enhance the consumer experience.  The equipment evolved from the Pepsi Touch Tower, which was piloted in the United States in 2013, and is also available in Europe, Central America, and the Caribbean.

In an effort to combat the Pepsi Spire, Coca-Cola welcomed three new dispensers on May 16, significantly expanding the number of customer locations suited for the technology.  The new units offer the same elements that have made Coca-Cola Freestyle popular with consumers and valuable to customers — unparalleled beverage choice including more low- and no-calorie beverage options, high-quality, connectivity, and an engaging experience — in designs that fit on countertops.  The new Coca-Cola Freestyle dispensers will be piloted by the end of the year.

PepsiCo did its homework on the Coca-Cola Freestyle and believes its Pepsi Spire lineup has an edge over the competition:

  • Decreases the wait time for consumers using its machine with updated touch screen technology
  • Lowers the cost of operating the machines for businesses that integrate them, working with the existing infrastructure
  • Does not require a separate/new operating system
  • Offers a contemporary design — though consumers have yet to weigh in on whether they like the retro or contemporary look
  • Provides ability for real-time customer data allowing customized delivery of its product to consumers