A Vision for the Future
By Aaron Serge Bueno, Founder and Executive Chairman, October 2014
My vision is quite simple, because it is not mine alone, but one that is shared by every one of our clients.
This vision is not driven by Wall Street, or any other market, but solely by the desires of our clients and their consumers.
I have traveled the world and consumers everywhere tell me the same thing, “Please create beverages that are simple, tasty, healthy and inexpensive.” They want a product that simplifies their kitchen, not just another appliance to “clutter it up”. It is from these wishes and needs, that we are building the best products on the market.
You may not have heard about SDS, despite the fact that we have received the “Most Innovative Company of the Year” award in the At-Home Carbonation category, from Housewares Executive, the last three years in a row (ahead of Kitchen Aid and SodaStream in 2014). But you will have certainly heard about our products being sold around the world by world famous kitchen appliance brands such as Hamilton Beach’s Fizzini (currently in Walmart), SEB-Tefal (in France), Emson (coming soon with our Soda Boss in the USA), Limo-Bar (in the Czech Republic) and Home Bar (in Russia, China etc).
Our legitimacy starts in the At-Home Carbonation Category:
Currently At-Home Carbonation companies use a technology that has a few fundamental problems; they use high-pressure CO2 cylinders, which require special handling and must be physically exchanged by the consumer and they are quite complex, as it takes between six to nine steps depending if you drink sparkling water or a soft drink! We found solutions for these problems.
Since 2007, I have known that the CO2 cylinder would eventually be a deal breaker, especially in “soft drink” countries. After years of research and development SDS has now succeeded in introducing a solution that uses appliances with no CO2 cylinders; the technology is in the pods! Some people might say, “Who cares? People will drive fifty miles for a good bottle of wine, or stand in line fifteen minutes for a good cup of coffee.” Europeans love sparkling water and might not hesitate to exchange cylinders. But the fact is that for soda there are better alternatives than CO2 and syrups. Yes, it might be an exciting experience to design your own drink, but that gets old fast.
That breakthrough alone would have been enough, but at the same time, (because I have good ears) I knew consumers were looking for a healthier alternative to soft drinks. I heard something recently that I found interesting, “Traditional sodas today are the Marlboros of 30 years ago”. The decline is irreversible and I will bet a dollar that thirty years from now, these beverages will be shunned like cigarettes are today. I will not even go into all the damage these types of drinks do to our health. Today’s beverage companies will have to re-invent themselves, in fact they have already started.
So we spent years developing the healthiest alternative possible. In addition to our fantastic variety of flavors, our pods are nutraceutical products full of functional benefits covering nine different categories of body support and contain 50% of your daily needs of vitamins and antioxidants. Our products are labeled and endorsed by New York Times Best Selling author and television personality Dr. Ian K Smith, M.D., which gives consumers the confidence that they are buying a healthy product.
So are we the best alternative to both SodaStream and Keurig Cold (I am purposefully not mentioning any other system, as they are, for me and many clients, not really “in the loop”)?
Well, for SodaStream: I have always felt we were completing them rather than competing with them. They are and hopefully will be for a long time a good solution for bottled SPARKLING WATER. They allow you to design your own bubbles, whether you prefer Pellegrino or Perrier, and you don’t have to carry a bottle.
SDS also has these “older technologies”, more advanced but in the same category as Sodastream in the fact that they also use exchangeable CO2 cylinders. We also have an assortment of products that use simple disposable CO2 cylinders as well (such as the Soda Boss or the handheld Fizzini).
As for the Keurig Cold, well, time will tell. If the rumors are true pricing could be a real issue for both the appliances and the capsules, even with the big name brands and millions in advertising. And what will be their positioning? Convenience? Health? With Coke on board it would seem a bit complicated, and I do not see the COKE brand on a capsule with their model of “serving the exact same coke taste everywhere”, since no two houses have the same water!
Now let’s focus on SDS and where our clients want us to be!
During our R&D process of developing all kinds of great flavors with functional benefits (over 600 and counting!), I kept in mind what the consumer was saying about their “counter space”. I instinctively knew that if we are to give the consumer everything they want we have to develop one appliance that can do it all. So I challenged my great development team to create a new kind of coffee, and it was a huge success! We have developed a revolutionary and unique coffee technology, which is simply SPECTACULAR! Our luscious coffee recipes are unique because they can be enjoyed in water or milk. We call it “pre-brewed, all-natural, aromatic blends©” and it tastes great hot or iced! Moreover, for the flavored coffees, it is not about adding flavor on top of coffee, it is like having them brewed together!
I’m not the only one touting our great flavors; all of our clients and partners who have tried it love it! I have heard several times “Hmmm, much better than what Starbucks is offering.” Marley Coffee recently signed an agreement with us and I am sure they know what they are talking about.
Also with Keurig and other similar capsule coffee machines, hot is your only choice!
A consumer that wants hot and cold coffee, sparkling water and soft drinks would need to “clutter up” their counter space with multiple machines.
We have fulfilled my vision. Give the consumer a broader choice, “make it easy” and GIVE IT TO THEM AT THE RIGHT PRICE POINT.
The French say “Qui peut le plus, peut le moins” (“Who can do more, can do less”). We are coming from a very “technologically difficult world” (the sparkling machines). Soda Stream and SDS are the only two companies in the world that really know what we are talking about (in terms of the consumer market), all of the others are learning the hard way.
Considering all this made me think that it is easier to shoot the elephant in the room than finding one in the jungle!
- Despite the high level of soft drink consumption in the USA, the ratio of houses owning a coffee appliance in their home compared to a sparkling machine is at least fifty-to-one (this is “the room” versus “the jungle”)!
- Having one appliance with multiple technologies that gives the consumer the ability to create sparkling drinks, still drinks, hot drinks, cold drinks, coffees and teas all in one appliance, will allow the consumer to take control of their soft drink consumption in the same way and at the same time they take care of their coffee.
So there, I have said it! We are the best alternative to Keurig (and this is the elephant) and several others around the globe, and we go a step further, by offering consumers our amazing “pre-brewed, all-natural, aromatic blends ©” of coffee and ONE appliance that does it all (no need to have a Keurig Hot and a Keurig Cold or another At-Home Carbonation system).
So in conclusion, we decided to face them and proclaim, “Here we come, we will compete with you, without arrogance or fear, but with smiles and humility, and simply with a much better, easier and less expensive product!”
To your health and happiness,
Aaron Serge Bueno
SDS’ Founder and Executive Chairman
PS. Keep an eye on us, because ANOTHER revolution is coming very soon!