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Coca-Cola marches into the 21st Century with this cool new machine.

  • Jun 25, 2011
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Back in 2009 The Coca-Cola Company began test marketing a revolutionary new touch screen soda fountain they dubbed Coca-Cola Freestyle. This incredible new machine allows consumers to purchase more than 100 different Coca-Cola products and custom flavors, many of which had never been available in the U.S. before. Testing began in Utah, Southern California and Georgia in selected fast-food outlets and theaters. Enterprenuers quickly embraced the new technology because in spite of the fact that the cost of a soft drink from this new machine jumped some 30% as compared to a conventional soda fountain sales skyrocketed. Meanwhile, consumers were also enthusiastic about a new technology that gives them infinitely more choices than they have had in the past. Each machine has an on board computer, an RFDI scanner and microdosing technology that precisely mixes the drink that is ordered. This weekend Wendy's is launching Coca-Cola Freestyle with a massive TV marketing campaign. A quick look around the ‘net confirms that thus far the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive.

Now if you are tired of the same old dreary drink choices being offered at your local fast food emporium or pizza joint then Coca-Cola Freestyle just might be what the doctor ordered.  Step right up and select your base product (Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Caffeine Free Coke, Coca-Cola Zero, Sprite, Dasani Water, Minute Maid Lemonade, Fanta or Powerade).  Next, you will be offered an array of flavors that are available with that particular product.  Thus, you might wind up with an Orange Coca-Cola (previously available only in Russia and The Baltics), Peach Sprite, Lime Coca-Cola Zero, Grape Dasani Water or maybe even Cherry Powerade. Get the picture?  As of this writing there are 126 choices available and there may be more on the way. The onboard computer tracks all of the selections and alerts both the folks at Coke and the store manager when refills and maintainance will be needed. One has to wonder if you will need a master's degree to work on this machine.

Thinking that this might be a great topic for a review I headed to my nearest Wendy's last night to sample Coca-Cola Freestyle for myself. As advertised it is really easy to use. I decided to try a Raspberry Sprite. I ordered a small one (22 oz) for the hefty price of $1.69.  Frankly, what I got was a drink that was the rough equivalent of those 3 liter bottles of Fruit Punch that you see on sale at the supermarket for 88 cents. Way too sweet for my taste!  But I will withhold a final judgment until I sample some other flavors.  Having said that if I owned a convenience store I would be very worried about the emergence of Coca-Cola Freestyle. I suspect that fast-food restaurants were losing a lot of business to convenience stores due to their very limited soft drink selection.  Coca-Cola Freestyle dramatically changes the landscape. The good news may be that in the long run advanced technology like Coca-Cola Freestyle will be available to all retailers. Think of it.  This would eliminate the need to haul all those plastic bottles and cans into stores and restaurants.  That would be a real boon for the environment.   Stay tuned!

At the end of the day I think that Coca-Cola Freestyle will be wildly popular among youngsters and most teenagers. Hopefully these groups will not overindulge because obesity and diabetes are already a serious problem for our young people.  Adults who tend to be more health conscious will also enjoy the option to try something new but I doubt that this new technology will dramatically increase consumption by the older crowd.   We'll just have to wait and see.  What we have here is a glimpse into the future.  One has to wonder what other innovative new technologies are just around the corner.
Coca-Cola marches into the 21st Century with this cool new machine. Coca-Cola marches into the 21st Century with this cool new machine. Coca-Cola marches into the 21st Century with this cool new machine. Coca-Cola marches into the 21st Century with this cool new machine.

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June 28, 2011
I'll wait until they offer Sardine-Marshmello Health Fizz with halitosis inhibitors. In the meantime, I enjoyed your review.
June 28, 2011
This sounds so awesome! I hope they get one in one of the areas where I live. I absolutely adore Coke products!
June 28, 2011
Crazy, Paul. I hadn't heard of this before, but this machine sounds so cool! Good point about the overindulging on this though. I hope it doesn't contribute to our country's obesity epidemic. Someone needs to invent a juicing machine or something with healthier and fresher options. Thanks for the heads up on this!
June 28, 2011
I think Coca Cola should try to make a mini one so that I can have it right at home, LOL!
About the reviewer
Paul Tognetti ()
Ranked #2
I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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Coca-Cola Freestyle is a touch screen soda fountain introduced by The Coca-Cola Company in 2009. The machine features over 100[1][2] [3] different Coca-Cola drink products,[4] and custom flavors.[5]

Technologies involved include microdispensing technology and proprietary PurePour technology. Both technologies were originally developed to deliver extremely precise doses of drugs.[1] One Freestyle unit with a similar footprint to current vending machine can dispense 126 kinds of carbonated and non-carbonated beverages from one freestanding unit. Microdosing blends one or more concentrated ingredients in 46-ounce packets with water and sweetener at the point where the beverage is dispensed,[4] thus avoiding the use of traditional 5-gallon boxes of syrup (also known as a bag-in-a-box).[6] Cartridges store concentrated ingredients in the dispenser cabinet and are RFID enabled. The machine uses RFID chips to detect its supplies and to radio resupplying needs to other units. The traditional ice cube dispenser remains.[7] The maximum rate of output is 95 drinks per hour.[4]
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