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Pepsi Finally Joins The Touchscreen Soda Party With Pepsi Spire

LOS ANGELES, May 28, 2014 () – It’s about time, Pepsi. What took you so long?

Having let rival Coca-Cola dominate the touchscreen soda fountain market since 2009, Pepsi announced earlier this month the arrival of Pepsi Spire, a portfolio of fountain beverage dispensers that allows consumers to create more than 1,000 customized beverages.

The dispensers are in direct response to Coca-Cola Freestyle, a touchscreen fountain allowing customers to customize hundreds of Coca-Cola beverages. Seen frequently in such establishments as restaurants, movie theaters and college dining halls, these touchscreens have proven immensely popular with consumers. In fact, one of the biggest (and only) complaints about them has been the long lines as a result of the extra time it takes for consumers to decide what they want. Given the popularity, it’s surprising that Pepsi didn’t launch Spire sooner!

Coca-Cola already has its freestyle machines in major food establishments like Burger King and Fuddruckers, so not only is Pepsi Spire playing from behind, it’s down by three or four touchdowns! And Coca-Cola isn’t wasting time trying to run up the score.

The same day that Spire was revealed, Coca-Cola announced that it would launch countertop versions of its Freestyle machines by the end of this year, with the goal of introducing Freestyle machines to additional customer outlets.

It’s nice that Pepsi finally joined the party. But it has a lot of work to do if it wants to join in the celebration.

Nevin Barich is the Food and Beverage Analyst for Industry Intelligence. Email him here or follow him on Twitter here.

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