As pop sales continue to plummet due to the increased consumer interest in healthier beverages, soda giant Coca-Cola hopes their new innovative cooler can boost product sales. The Arctic Coke cooler features a section where consumers can place their super-chilled Coke beverage and watch it instantly transform the drink into an ice-cold slushy .
With the help of ex-NASA engineers, it took Coke twenty years to research and develop the Arctic Coke cooler. The machines uses “precision chilling” technology to develop ice crystals within a super-chilled beverage bottle, resulting in an icy, slushy consistency. According to the company, many of their consumers have indicated that they prefer to drink Coke beverages this way.
Coca-Cola first introduced their machine to the public in 2016. They tested the cooler in 20 Speedway convenience stores in and around Indianapolis during the summer of that year. With sales boosted 15-20 percent at these locations after the installation of the cooler, Coke was motivated to invest further in the machine. The company is currently testing out about 500 units across America, mostly in convenience stores, and they are planning on testing out 550 more. About 1,000 of these machines can be found outside of the US.
Although coolers are found in every convenience store, Artic Coke stands out from the rest because of its innovative add-on. Since the machine is geared only towards Coca-Cola’s products, the company has an appealing advantage in these stores.
“We’ve taken a pretty focused viewpoint on the experience that it creates, and the fact that the consumer can be part of the experience and really enjoy the visual transformation,” Kim Drucker, Coca-Cola’s platform innovation director, told Food Dive. “Those were the things that consumers told us were super important to them.”
According to Edward Jones analyst, Brittany Weissman, Arctic Coke has an advantage on hot summer days when consumers look for cold drinks at convenience stores. The fact that the machine stands out and provides a colder beverage than its competitor’s is enough to persuade consumers to only select Coke products.
“It’s a cool user experience that helps build the brand,” Weissman told Food Dive. “Ultimately, does it directly move the needle significantly on sales, probably not, but it’s going to be the same as any other ad campaign in a way where you are just building awareness and you’re really trying to build the connection with the consumer.”
Though the machine stands out from others, it still poses a challenge for store owners. Arctic Coke only works on super-cold beverages and it can take up to 12 hours for the cooler to chill its beverages to optimal temperature. The cooler also only holds 70 bottles and because each brand has a specific temperature it can be chilled to, only a select few beverages can be used in the machine. Currently, the machine uses Coke, Sprite, Powerade and Diet Coke beverages.
Coke’s efforts to out-do its competition have proven to be successful so far. If the 500 machines that are being tested continue to find success, it is likely that we will see these coolers in convenience stores nationwide.
[AJ1]Clarify the time it takes to cool the beverages