The soda wars have raged for decades, but the new front in the age-old battle has shifted to a high-tech version of the old soda fountain.
Pepsico is betting Spire—a new touchscreen, make-it-yourself, high-tech beverage fountain—will be a game changer for its food-service business.
"Food service is a growth area for Pepsico," CEO Indra Nooyi said in an interview with CNBC at the National Restaurant Association trade show in Chicago.
The goal for Pepsi is to expand its business with restaurants, movie theaters and other food-service locations by grabbing market share. To do this, Pepsi will be going head-to-head with Coca-Cola's Freestyle machine, which has been out for four years, and according to the Atlanta beverage giant, has 20,000 machines in the market.
Coke unveiled a countertop version of its Freestyle machine, which takes the shape of Coke's iconic curved glass and lets users choose from more than 100 flavors of drinks in Coke's portfolio.
"I'm not saying theirs is a bad machine or not," Nooyi said. "Two great companies producing two great machines. ... Our machine addresses a lot of the issues that restaurant owners said they had with other machines: wait times, the cost of the machine was too high. It required a new operating system; they had to train their workers how to use a new cartridge. So I think our machine is just different. It's the 21st-, 22nd-century machine."