Whirlpool Corp and Anheuser-Bush InBev recently announced that it started selling B.blend. a machine that makes soda, juice and coffee with single-serve capsules in Brazil. Here, Mintel’s Global Food and Drink Analyst Jenny Zegler looks at the implications of the launch.

The B.blend collaboration between Anheuser-Busch InBev and Whirlpool, two global giants in their respective industries, showcases the international potential companies see in the in-home beverage appliance market. Indeed, the entry of Anheuser-Busch InBev and Whirlpool into the in-home beverage appliance space places the companies alongside international players, including Nestlé and SodaStream – as well as Coca-Cola and Keurig Green Mountain, which are expected to launch the Keurig Kold system in the US in late 2015 throughout their website, which will be followed by a rollout in stores by the 2016 holiday shopping season. Thus, the Sao Paulo launch of B.blend serves as more evidence that manufacturers believe there is opportunity for in-home beverage manufacturing, but it has yet to be determined if consumers agree.

18% of US consumers own a carbonated beverage maker

B. Blend does differentiate itself from existing global in-home beverage appliances, such as Nespresso and SodaStream, with its capability to prepare both hot and cold drinks. This could be seen as an advantage by consumers because the additional usage occasions may help to justify what often is valuable kitchen counter space. However, B.blend’s premium introductory price of R$ 3,499 for the machine and 100 capsules suggests that the product is not yet targeted toward a mass audience.

As a concept, in-home beverage appliances reflect consumer desires for convenience and control as well as the ability to be creative. In the US, 18% of US consumers own a carbonated beverage maker, according to Mintel’s Small Kitchen Appliances US 2014 report. Beverage companies also stand to benefit from widespread in-home beverage creation because it alleviates some pressure from manufacturing and distribution models that are currently focused on packaged beverages. However, the often premium prices for the machines, beverage concentrates and other necessary supplies have much more limited potential compared with the nearly universal availability and grab-and-go benefits of packaged beverages.

Jennifer Zegler, Global Food & Drink Analyst at Mintel joined the Mintel Food & Drink Platform after her tenure as a dedicated Beverage Analyst on the US Mintel Reports team. She researched and wrote many of the category reports with a focus on both alcohol and non-alcohol segments, and packaging. Jennifer came to Mintel in mid-2012 from a leading trade magazine that covered the US beverage industry from concept through distribution. During her career, she also has written for several food and packaging magazines covering the US snack food, bakery, confectionery, meat, and packaging industries.

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