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SodaStream sees demand grow with millions at home

Yahoo Finance’s Brian Sozzi and Alexis Christoforous speak with Head of SodaStream USA Bryan Welsh about the seltzer maker’s sustainability efforts, and how SodaStream is responding to COVID-19.

Video Transcript

BRIAN SOZZI: The sparkling water industry has been on the rise in recent years, people flocking to the healthy carbonated beverage alternative, and that hasn't changed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Home sparkling water giant SodaStream says it's seen a big uptick in demand the past few months.

Joining us now is the head of SodaStream USA Bryan Welsh. Bryan, good to speak with you here. And to be perfectly fair, we haven't heard much about SodaStream since that deal-- since the deal with PepsiCo closed over-- over a year ago. What is the current state of the business? What are you seeing with sales?

BRYAN WELSH: Well, good morning Brian and Alexis. Thanks for having me. Well, I'm sorry to hear you haven't heard from us in a little while. We were on the Super Bowl in February on the biggest commercial stage in the world and really trying to get a-- some more dialogue going about sustainability and our efforts there, which is core to our brand.

We're seeing a boom in the business right now. You mentioned it, sparkling water, it's been on trend for years. It's a big part of the growth in overall beverages. And the COVID situation we're in right now has people at home looking for hydration solutions to keep themselves healthy. So we play right into that. And so we're doing-- we're doing, as a business, really well in the first part of the year.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Hey, Bryan, I didn't realize this, but in doing some reading, I saw that the pandemic has led to a fall in CO2 supply, which is used to make seltzer fizzy. Are you-- are you seeing that? Are you having trouble getting it?

BRYAN WELSH: We are not. We've locked up supply for our lines without any issues. So we're not nervous about that. It was one of the first thoughts we had as we read the same kind of headlines as you did, and we're OK. We-- we will bubble you all year long. It's not a problem.

BRIAN SOZZI: Bryan, what have you seen-- you've seen a lot of PepsiCo executives. You've been at the company for a while-- go over and market SodaStream. Always viewed SodaStream as a very innovative company. What have you guys been working on? What's the next chapter look like for SodaStream?

BRYAN WELSH: Well-- well, clearly, PepsiCo brings, you know, R&D and go-to-market capabilities that we can leverage as a broader business. I'm-- I'm not here to announce any-- any new launches, so to speak. But if you look internationally, for instance in Europe, the PepsiCo brands of Pepsi, Diet Pepsi have been launched on the platform there. And so we're watching that closely to see how the market responds. Again, nothing to announce today, but it's something we're watching.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Bryan, I know you made that switch from plastic to metal bottles. I know some of those plastic bottles had expiration dates on them. What's this case with the metal bottles? Do they expire? And how do you dispose of them?

BRYAN WELSH: Yeah. Well, that is a-- that's part of our five-year environmental commitment that we've made, the switch to metal bottles. So as you know, every-- every time people use a-- one of our plastic bottles for the carbonation itself, you save overall plastic-- plastic waste. But when it comes to our flavor bottles, the multi-serve flavor bottles that we currently sell, they are plastic.

And it's something, you know, if we're going to be true to our sustainability efforts, we've got to-- we've got to replace those, which we will. So they're going to switch to metal bottles next year. They will still have-- it is still food, so it will still have an expiration on it. It's approximately a year though.

But when it comes to metal, metal is just so much more recycled than plastic is. The rates here in the United States are metal-- metal containers are recycled about a 70% rate versus 15% to plastics. So we know people recycle metal. That's the right thing to do is to convert over to that. So by the end of 2021, all of those flavor bottles will be converted.

BRIAN SOZZI: All right, let's leave it there. Bryan-- Bryan Welsh, head of SodaStream US. Good to speak with you, and good luck on the road ahead.

BRYAN WELSH: Great. Thanks for having me. Stay well.