Israeli Startup SodaStream Looks to Flavored Waters as Consumers Shun Sugary Drinks
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Facing new competition from the expected launch of Keurig Green Mountain Inc's at-home soda machine in 2015, top player SodaStream International is seeking to appeal to increasingly health-oriented consumers.
As U.S. demand for sweet soft drinks declines, SodaStream in October cut its 2014 revenue and profit forecast and said it would close a controversial factory in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, that had sparked calls for a boycott of its products.
At the same time, competition is heating up. Keurig's upcoming cold beverage system is being developed with help from Coca-Cola, which became Keurig's largest shareholder last year when it bought a 16 percent stake.
"We are not about to relinquish our number one position in the U.S. or anywhere. We are looking forward to healthy competition," Chief Executive Daniel Birnbaum said on the sidelines of a news conference to launch its new product line.
SodaStream, whose revenue grew 30 percent a year on average since 2008, reaching $562.7 million in 2013, forecast a 9 percent drop in 2014. Its stock on Nasdaq has fallen almost 60 percent since last April when it hit a high for 2014 of $47.30, and is now trading at $19.90.
"I think we failed in 2014 because we didn't identify quickly enough the change in the market," Birnbaum said.
"U.S. consumers don't want better Coke, they want more interesting water."