New York - PepsiCo is launching a high-tech water cooler for customers who want healthier drinks that are also better for the environment.
The new water dispenser lets people fill up their own bottles with flavored or unflavored, still or carbonated water in varying temperatures. Users can also download a companion mobile app that tracks their water intake, reminds them to hydrate, and lets them know how many plastic bottles they spared by using a refillable bottle.
It looks like a sleeker version of a digital soda fountain that PepsiCo already makes, called Spire. The cooler comes in two sizes: a large one that resembles a refrigerator that can be used on college campuses and in hotels, stadiums, casinos or other venues; and a smaller, countertop system that PepsiCo anticipates will be used in offices.
Health and the environment are two big parts of PepsiCo's plan to keep consumers happy.
The same year, the company also acquired SodaStream, which makes DIY seltzer machines. When the deal was announced, then-CEO Indra Nooyi said SodaStream's products fit Pepsi's goal of "making more nutritious products while limiting our environmental footprint."
The new system, which was announced this week, addresses "a number of trends we're seeing resonate with consumers," like customization, health and environmental awareness, said Scott Finlow, chief marketing officer of PepsiCo's foodservice division, in a statement.
PepsiCo launched a pilot with 30 machines last year, and will start leasing them in June. The company plans to evolve the product as it learns more about how customers use it. One way this could work: If people in one region crave a certain flavor, a machine there could be customized to offer it, Finlow told CNN Business.
It took about a year and a half to bring the concept to market, Finlow said. That's a speedy timeline, he noted.
"Our new PepsiCo mission includes 'faster,'" he said. "This is a great example of working fast."
PepsiCo CEO Ramon Laguarta, who stepped into the role in October, has emphasized rapid innovation as a way to fuel growth.
"We're focused on becoming faster, stronger and better," he said during a recent analyst call discussing the company's first quarter earnings.
Finlow didn't disclose how many units PepsiCo hopes to lease. But he added that the rollout will ramp up later this year.
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