Keurig Kold is a brilliant move by Green Mountain Coffee. It’s going to change the way how we enjoy carbonated beverages, and it may even make us a bit healthier.
And yes, it’s Keurig KOLD not Kold. I’m not typing all-caps constantly… hopefully Keurig will learn to take the caps lock off as well.
Kold does what SodaStream doesn’t. It delivers the carbonation and the syrup inside a single pod. You just put the pod in, and out you get an eight ounce cup of soda pop. And they’ve lined up Coca-Cola as a partner, not to mention Dr. Pepper as well.
The problem, is not even the machine’s $369.99 cost. Probably necessary, both to extract CO2 from a tiny pod, but also to recoup the massive R&D cost. SodaStream is a tiny CO2 release valve and canister solution. Not nearly as innovative. But there’s a problem…
… and that’s pod cost.
You can have the most amazing printer in the world, but nobody will buy it if the cartridges are worth their weight in gold. Kodak learned this all too late. Epson is learning this now, by offering some of the first consumer printers in decades with BYO ink tanks.
Keurig Kold presents the same problem. For $1.25, on sale, I can buy a two liter bottle of Diet Coke. I can buy a 12 pack of 12 ounce cans of Diet Coke for $4. Because I’m in California, add two bucks in “California Redemption Value” – an onerous environmental tax that I would be fine with, provided consumers who recycle at home could easily be refunded. Considering the cash cow for some in the state by not fixing that – I don’t see that changing any time soon.
Anyways, $4 – in most free states – gets me 144 ounces of soda. That’s around three cents for cans, and two cents per ounce for large bottles.
A Keurig Kold pod racks up around 15 cents per ounce of soda. That’s five times as much per ounce.
Health experts suggest you don’t drink more than four cans of soda per day. Some less, and I’m disregarding those that say you shouldn’t drink any. That’s 1,460 cans per year for a heavy soda drinker. Or, 17,520 ounces per year. Which means if someone switches to Keurig Kold, they’re facing $2,628 per year in soda cost… versus only $350 by using 2-liter bottles.
The very wealthy may be fine paying an extra $2,278 per year for soda. I’m not.
The one big benefit to Keurig Kold, is that it will bring many new varieties of soda to the market. This will let people test new flavors, flavors that may not have gotten a chance in retail otherwise. Soda bottles take a massive amount of shelving space. Pods can be sent in sampler packs – and take up an extremely small amount of space.
Also – and possibly just as important – it may make people a bit healthier too. Sodas can be infused with fruit, vitamins, and other options that would be costly or require refrigeration otherwise. It may be pods could help substitute the reduction in other healthy beverages that people skip out on, when drinking soda.
I am very hopeful Keurig Kold makes it. And it sounds like Pepsi is either going to partner with a similar firm – or buy SodaStream. Either action will likely result in a price war between Pepsi, and Coke-backed Keurig. I only hope that the Kold’s CO2 pod method, has enough meat on the bone to slash prices… by at least half.