The beverage giant says, however, that consumers are looking for choice. It notes that the first generation of the new dispenser, which was assessed earlier this summer, received high marks for variety, as well as ease of use, taste and value. Consumers also rated it as a "fun experience." All told, 72% of consumers reported being more satisfied with the new fountain. "Innovation is our lifeblood," said Chris Lowe, president-foodservice and on-premise at Coca-Cola North America. "We wanted a dispenser that offers consumers greater beverage variety, while helping our customers increase beverage profitability. We started by ignoring preconceived notions of fountain beverages and explored how a fountain dispenser could look and work in the future."
The fountain of the future's high-tech design takes up about the same amount of space as the industry-standard eight-valve dispenser. And introducing a new brand is "about as easy as changing a print cartridge," Coca-Cola said, which would certainly be a nifty way to expose consumers to niche or new brands. After all, Coca-Cola holds trademarks for more than 450 sparkling and still brands globally.
The second generation of the dispenser will begin testing during the first half of 2009. Following those tests, Coca-Cola will determine whether to roll out the fountain. So if you're the type that can't make a snap decision, move over and let someone get ahead of you in line.