Posted By RichC on January 16, 2014
Completing the thank you circle to my kids for their thoughtful Christmas gifts this year, I’ll post a thank you to Katelyn and Drew for their gift of a Sodasteam machine. The thought is that it might be a solution for soft drinks on the boat. Super idea! The small and simple device reduces the number of cans or disposable plastic bottles and doesn’t require any electrical power – a great idea for cruising as disposing of garbage is a big problem.
I’ve been watching the company and posted a Greenberg/Cramer challenge back in 2011 but thought it was still not cost effective. Before Sodastream, I looked into my own home soda machine, but the cost and required maintenance for a small commercial fountain station prevented building one into our kitchen. Cans have been our preferred method for decades and those who know us, know we are addicted to Pepsi products (particularly Brenda and Diet Pepsi). We definitely drink our share of “pop” especially in cans, and found that we have enough aluminum to recycle each year to pay for dinner at our favorite restaurant.
The biggest concern from my perspective is the taste and flavor options. During the holidays we ran through the included six sample flavors. My conclusion was that only two of the Sodastream flavors were passable. I liked the Pink Grapefruit and really enjoyed the Diet Lemon-Lime. Brenda was not happy with the diet-cola. Pricing is going to be another issue along with the inconvenience (at home) of filling a bottle with water, chilling it ahead of time and then carbonating and hand mixing the soda.
Back to pricing … Target current has Diet Lemon-Lime at $4.99 for a bottle of syrup that will produce 33 12oz cans (.15/can). Add the price (and inconvenience) of carbonators and that adds roughly 13 more cents per 12 ounces at the listed Sodastream carbonator price. This brings the cost to about .28/can or $6.72/case, if I’ve got my numbers and yields correct (FYI: we regularly buy Pepsi or Coke products at $4 to 7/case … and over our lifetime “shop” to buy cans under 20 cents each).
The goal in the end is not to pay the Sodastream price for syrup or for carbonator refills, but to find a way to “home refill” (SodaMod) lower than the $14.99/ 60L carbonator or replace the tank entirely (CO2Doctor). I’m already working on a wholesaler or restaurant that will sell box/cube Pepsi or Coke.
I’m ok with the $4.99 Diet Lemon-Lime and normal $14.99 carbonator refill on the boat so as not having to lug as many cans aboard and store the empties, but wouldn’t mind finding something better that will satisfy Brenda, especially if I’m going to use it everyday at home.