Soda companies fight for new customers

Soda companies work harder for customers (Source: WOIO)
Soda companies work harder for customers (Source: WOIO)

As the push to get healthy gets stronger, consumers are ditching artificial sweeteners and sugary soft drinks.

Beverage companies are struggling with soda sales that have been on a steady decline over the past ten years.

So the industry is responding with some new products, saying choices, personalization and customization are the keys for beverages in the next 25 years.

Pepsi is already thinking about it as the company prepares to roll out Drinkfinity pods.

"Consumers are going to look for much more exciting propositions. It used to be a long time ago you only had two colas. Now they have this vast amount of choice available to them," says Brad Jakeman of Pepsico Global Beverages Group.

Coca-Cola has already introduced its Freestyle machine in restaurants which allows consumers to customize their favorite flavors.

Pepsi offers Spire, which lets you mix and match hundreds of combinations.

That's what alcoholic beverage drinkers want as well.

"I think over the next five to 20 years you're going to see the consumer have a clear role in playing on what that ultimate beer experience tastes like," says David Kroll, VP of Innovation & Insights at MillerCoors.

At MillerCoors' test lab in Chicago, they're already experimenting with unique flavor profiles.

Consumers are also demanding natural and healthier choices.

"I think flavor companies are going to get more and more complex with their flavors and more and more natural," says Dr. David Ryder, VP of Brewing, Research, and Innovation and Quality at MillerCoors.

Big companies are currently experimenting with natural sweeteners like Stevia. Coke Life and Pepsi True have just launched. But no one has found a formula with mass appeal and a winning taste.

Consumers also want to make it themselves. For instance, the popularity of home brewing equipment kits is growing rapidly.

According to the American Homebrewers Association, that popularity is expected to continue growing.

Coke is teaming up with Keurig Green Mountain to create an at-home cold brewing system set to launch this year.

Pepsi is working with Sodastream to allow users to create their own Pepsi brand flavors.

Experts say that personalization, DIY, and natural, healthy choices are trends they expect to continue to grow.

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