Tuesday is National Coffee Day, when restaurants and coffee shops around the country are saluting the country’s favorite caffeinated morning beverage by giving away free cups of Joe. Oddly, one of the coffee industry’s major forces—Keurig, the coffee pod pioneer—decided that Tuesday would also be the day it introduces a new machine that makes … soda.
After six years of development, the Keurig Kold officially went on sale on Tuesday. It’s a soda-making machine similar to the Sodastream, only the Keurig product is able to create Coca-Cola drinks like Diet Coke and Sprite that are supposed taste on par with their counterparts poured out of the bottle, can, or restaurant fountain. The Keurig Kold is the result of a partnership with the Coca-Cola company that originated years ago.
If you care about getting good value for the money you spend, however, for the time being there are two simple reasons why you shouldn’t bother purchasing the Keurig Kold:
1. The machine is way too expensive.
2. The soda pods are way too expensive.
The Keurig Kold hits the market at a retail price of $369.99. When you put it in your online shopping cart at Keurig’s website, it automatically decreases by $20. But still, $350 is a steep price to pay compared with other soda-making machines that routinely cost less than $100.
Perhaps even more glaring is the cost of the pods needed to make Coca-Cola beverages. Keurig sells coffee pods in packs of 18, 24, or even 96, and as with almost any products, consumers can expect a bulk discount. Yet right now the Coca-Cola soda pods compatible with the Kold are being sold only in four-packs. A four-pack sells for $4.99. So basically, you’re paying $1.25 per soda—a soda you have to make yourself, remember.
Meanwhile, it’s pretty easy to buy a case of Coke at a supermarket or warehouse store in which the per-soda price breaks down to less than 50¢.
Check out the comments under any online mention of the new Keurig Kold machine, and it’s easy to see what everyday people think of the pricing. “Are you people out of your minds !?!? $370.00 for a cold drink machine ?!?!?” one observer noted on the Keurig Facebook page. Underneath a CNET review, one commenter wrote, “This might become an epic failure. There is no way that people are going to pay $1.25 for an 8 oz of soda.”
So what are Keurig and Coca-Cola thinking? What’s the possible upside of owning a Keurig Kold? We suppose there’s a convenience factor: It’s easier to stock up on tiny pods than it is to lug loads of bottles or cans to the home or office.
Above all, though, it looks like Keurig is rolling out the Kold and corresponding pods at strategically inflated prices. This allows the company to sell them right now at extremely high margins to the early adopters who simply must have this machine in their home or office asap. Then, a few weeks down the line, when winter holiday shopping season truly kicks into gear, Keurig will be able to offer seemingly generous promotional prices on the Kold and Coca-Cola pods. The prices may still be absurdly high then, but to many consumers they will seem like great deals compared with the original, off-the-charts insane prices. Surely, many people will buy them as Christmas gifts just because they are new and “on sale.”
In any event, it’s all but guaranteed that come November and December you’ll be able to buy the Keurig Kold and soda pods for much lower prices than when they first went on sale. So that’s basically reason #3 why you shouldn’t bite on buying the machine right now.