Pepsi Hedges Its Soda Bets With Fancy Sparkling Water Fountains

In olden times, people would visit the corner soda shoppe to procure their desired fountain drinks. Then sodas became more popular, in bottles and cans, until nowadays you are able to get a plethora of sugary beverages or sparkling water flavors, if that's your jam, at any grocery or convenience store. But maybe you want your preferred drink even more personalized? Maybe you want to choose the level of carbonation, say, or flavor intensity?

Luckily for you, PepsiCo this week announced its new "hydration platform," which will feature "a new beverage dispenser for the food service sector... that will attempt to reduce plastic usage by prompting consumers to fill up their own reusable bottles," according to Forbes. The machines won't dispense soda, just fizzy water—so, a fancier water fountain. The lack of cups is part of the company's push to better its carbon footprint and also help reduce plastic overall. (PepsiCo had previously announced plans to source 25% of its packaging from recycled plastic by 2025.)

The sparkling-water machines will launch in June at institutions including offices, hotels, and cafeterias, offering sugar-free, carbonated water in six flavors like lemon, mint, and strawberry. Not only will users be able to modify their desired flavors and carbonation levels, they'll also receive a QR code so the machine automatically loads their preferences. Users can download an app to track how much water users are drinking and how much plastic they've saved.

As these "hydration platforms" will not have the Pepsi logo (or official beverages) available, they seem to be more in line with the SodaStream part of the PepsiCo business; the company acquired SodaStream last year, a wise move considering how water is surging in current markets while soda is sinking. One question: How long before I can get one of these in my house?