Leaders Forum: SodaStream

Scott Thomson
National Business Development Manager
SodaStream Australia

What do you most enjoy about convenience and what is one challenge you’d like to see addressed in the industry?

I enjoy the dynamic nature and the need to continually evolve to meet consumer needs and expectations. SodaStream was launched in Australia around 50 years ago with a product offering well ahead of its time. Over the past five decades, SodaStream has grown and evolved together with changing consumer and global trends, but at the very core it has remained true to its essence. SodaStream is an in-home beverage making system that is revolutionary in that it empowers consumers to make better-for-you beverages when and how they wish.

The SodaStream system is also environmentally friendly. By using one BPA free carbonating bottle over multiple uses, we enable consumers to reduce their eco-footprint with ease. In fact, one carbonating bottle saves over 2,000 single use plastic bottles from ending up in our environment or in landfill. Australians continue to be sustainably minded and this is not a trend that will change.

The convenience industry is, however, perceived as being wasteful, and contributing to the ever growing waste.

Highlight one achievement at SodaStream you’re particularly proud of in the last 12 months.

In 2019, SodaStream globally saved a staggering 2.8 billion single use plastic bottles from entering oceans and landfill. SodaStream continues to lead the way in helping to reduce peoples’ impact on the environment while empowering them to create and enjoy their sparkling water from the convenience of their home. It’s exciting to be a part of a company that gives so much to the world. I am so very proud to be a part of such an innovative and thriving brand that delivers both to the environment and to our retailers.

How has SodaStream adapted to the evolving challenges of COVID-19?

The demand for SodaStream Sparking Water Makers, Flavours, and Gas Cylinders has strengthened during these difficult times. Consumers are increasingly looking for ways to enjoy the things they love, at home. SodaStream caters perfectly to this. Many retailers have had to shift their focus in how they get to market via channels like online service, home delivery or in some instances, a complete product focus shift, with many unfortunately not able to weather the storm. With this change in the way we shop day to day, for us one particular channel has stood out among the rest: P&C. With major retail slowing, or in some cases shutting down, the service station has become a ‘one stop-shop’ for SodaStreamers. The forecourt units have become a well recognised beacon to consumers. While for retailers, it has provided incremental sales in an area previously under-utilised.

How do you envision the next six months for convenience?

There is light at the end of the tunnel for all Australians. Many retailers will begin to get back to some normality, but one big positive we can take from this harrowing experience is that COVID-19 has given businesses and business leaders a new perspective, the drive to adapt, and a different outlook on consumer needs and habits into the future.

The convenience channel is robust and has seemingly thrived through these tough times. Consumer buying habits have perhaps been changed forever and we need to recognise these changes and adapt swiftly.

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