Don't Throw Away Your SodaStream Just Yet
The negative momentum is accelerating. What began all the way back during the holiday quarter of 2013 -- when SodaStream conceded that syrup sales were falling in the in U.S. -- disintegrated through 2014. We've seen sales in the Americas go from a year-over-year decline of 28 percent during the first quarter of last year to a 49 percent plunge by the time the year's holiday quarter rolled around.
If you're one of the millions of people in the U.S. or tens of millions worldwide who have bought a SodaStream machine over the years, it's easy to question your investment in this kind of scenario. Is it time to store it in the attic, next to the Foreman grill and that cotton candy maker you used just twice?
This may not necessarily be your decision to make. SodaStream is a platform that requires subsequent purchases of carbonator refills and flavors, and slumping sales could lead local retailers to stop stocking the product.
Consumers are turning on traditional sodas, and SodaStream feels that it needs to switch gears. Late last year it announced that it would be shaking up its marketing strategy. It would be repositioning its product, promoting it as a maker of sparkling water instead of flavored sodas.
SodaStream took a big step in achieving that goal by introducing SodaStream Naturals, a line of flavors that do not contain high-fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners. A serving packs just 40 calories.
We're not talking about cola or root beer. The six initial flavors -- Kiwi-Pear, Apple-Peach, Passionfruit-Mango, Green Tea Lychee, Fresh Lemon, and Cranberry-Raspberry -- aim to cash in on the growing consumption of sparkling water, giving folks new ways to enjoy their fizzy beverages.
SodaStream is replacing its "Your home soda factory" mantra for a "Water made exciting" tagline. It's no longer taking shots at Coca-Cola (KO) and PepsiCo (PEP), and not just because PepsiCo was rumored to be a potential buyer of SodaStream last year.
Repurposing its machine makes sense. SodaStream leaned on a third-party report earlier this month to point out that it's the leading source of sparkling water consumption in the world.
It may also be SodaStream's last chance to remain relevant. SodaStream expects sales to continue sliding through the first half of this year, and SodaStream Naturals is its best shot at turning things around by appealing to a new base of users. There aren't too many companies that have bounced back after their products show faddish tendencies, but SodaStream hopping on a trend that's actually growing could pay off if consumers believe that the turnaround itself is real and free of artificial sweeteners.
Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz owns shares of SodaStream. The Motley Fool recommends Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and SodaStream. The Motley Fool owns shares of PepsiCo and SodaStream and has the following options: long January 2016 $37 calls on Coca-Cola and short January 2016 $37 puts on Coca-Cola. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. Want a sweet deal? Check out our free report onone great stock to buy for 2015 and beyond.