As of right now, the company that owns SodaStream is PepsiCo. The company has experienced a wide range of upper-level management and has shifted responsibilities around a good bit in the past, which gives it its rich history.
PepsiCo, as you may know, owns several other famous brands, such as Lay’s, Doritos, Mountain Dew, Ruffles, and much more.
Sure enough, with their purchase of SodaStream, they believe that the future of soda lies with people making it themselves in their homes.
SodaStream has quite an interesting backstory, consisting of multiple changes of shifts of development and operations.
Surprisingly enough, SodaStream’s initial start-up story dates way back to 1903, when a man from London named Guy Hugh Gilbey created an ‘apparatus for aerating liquids’.
Hilbey had been a part-owner of the London-based gin distillery company, W&A Gilbey LTD when he began to shift his focus onto creating flavored concentrates.
At the time, the aerated liquid drinks created by Gilbey, along with the flavored concentrates, were a luxury known only to upper class royal households within Britain.
Gilbey had specifically kept the product as a high-class commodity.
The popular flavors at the time consisted of cherry and sarsaparilla, which had been introduced in the 1920’s.
By the year 1955, the first aerating liquid machine for home use had become available, and from thereon, customers have been able to make soda within the comfort of their own homes.
Initially, SodaStream machine sales made their mark widely in the United Kingdom, as well as other parts of the world concurrently, such as in New Zealand, Germany, and Australia.
Soon enough, the old slogan “Get busy with the fizzy” had become widely known, after it appeared as a jingle in the late ’70s and in tv commercials in the ’80s.
SodaStream UK Commercial Summer of 1980
By the time the mid-’80s had rolled around, SodaStream had experienced multiple changes in upper management, and eventually became a subsidiary of Cadbury Schweppes.
Major changes to the company and their public presence would begin to fall in place after SodaStream was purchased in 1998 by Soda-Club, an Israel based company.
The company began to focus on healthier drinks and different means of operation.
In 2007, SodaStream was bought by Fortissimo Capital, an Israeli private equity firm, who then asked Daniel Birnbaum to step up as their CEO.
With this purchase and the appointment of Daniel Birnbaum as the CEO, the company had been, for lack of a better term, defibrillated.
The new purchase and new management were able to breathe some life into the company.
With Birnbaum as the new CEO, the company had essentially rebranded itself as a fizzy water company that offered healthier soda alternatives than those sold by big soda brands. By the year 2010, SodaStream had begun listing shares on the NASDAQ.
Some years later, PepsiCo would purchase SodaStream for a very hefty amount of money …
The biggest purchase in the company’s history came from PepsiCo, which had paid a whopping $3.2 billion in cash for the company back in the summer of 2018.
CNBC coverage: Pepsico to buy Sodastream for $3.2 billion
The valuation of $3.2 billion comes out to around $144 per share, as well.
The CEO of PepsiCo at the time, Indra Nooyi, had stated that SodaStream and PepsiCo are “an inspired match”, and this certainly seems true even from an outside perspective.
With the biggest soda company in the world now owning the fastest growing home soda maker, things were being set on the right path for booming sales.
With this purchase, SodaStream now has access to PepsiCo’s resources and fan base.
The two companies wanted to continue to build upon the healthier alternatives that were the main focus of Soda-Club’s purchase of SodaStream back in 1998.
In the past, CEO Daniel Birnbaum has stated his dissatisfaction with the soft-drink and bottled water industry and has since made efforts to market SodaStream as an at-home seltzer maker, which has proved to work very efficiently in terms of sales and popularity.
Back in 2016, SodaStream’s stock price had fallen to a mere $13 per share.
Since then, it has gained over 84% of the value. Soon enough after PepsiCo’s purchase, they were nearly doubling Wall Street’s estimates on their quarterly profits.
The main success of PepsiCo’s purchase of SodaStream came with their willingness to shift focus onto seltzer beverages, after taking notice that consumer wants towards soft-drinks began to fluctuate over time.
PepsiCo’s dive into other soft-drink and water-based beverages are further highlighted by their line of Bubly sparkling water, as well as their bottled water LIFEWTR.
SodaStream, since its initiative to become healthier and more environmentally friendly with the purchase from Soda-Club in 1998, has tried hard to be an ethical company.
The biggest point they have tried to make over the course of the past twenty years is how an at-home soda and seltzer maker can save families from wasting thousands upon thousands of plastic bottles each every few years.
Consistently, SodaStream has taken part in environmental projects that have consisted of reforestation initiatives, beach cleanups, waste reduction, and others.
SodaStream has partnered with several companies, services, and people over the years to bring awareness to environmental issues, with a large focus on waste and plastic bottle reduction.
SodaStream had faced controversy back in 2015 when they were under pressure from Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) activists who had not wanted their operations to take place in the West Bank.
BDS activists launched their campaign to put pressure on Israel to end their occupation of the West Bank and other areas, and saw the operations of SodaStream in this area as an infringement upon the intentions of the campaign.
Activists saw the Israeli occupation as an infringement upon the rights of Palestinians living in these areas.
CEO Daniel Birnbaum would go on to defend his company, stating that they provide Palestanians with “respectable employment opportunities and an appropriate salary and benefits”.
He points out that the factories are apolitical, and do not take certain sides on most matters.
The controversy had forced SodaStream to close down their factory in Ma’ale Adumim and move it to a new one in Lehavim.
Ultimately, the controversy did not end up having much of an impact on the company or its sales, and things returned to normal soon after.
So, depending on which angle you look at them from, SodaStream can certainly be viewed as an ethical company, especially in terms of environmental sustainability.