Scorching summer heat translates to sizzling sales at outdoor soda vending machines, cola makers and grocery stores said Friday. Thirsty, hot buyers are more likely to grab a beverage from machines parked at schools, ball fields or outside of stores or hotels, industry employees said.
At Coca-Cola Co., summer months mean constant restocking of an estimated 8,000 vending machines in the Valley, said Toney Anaya, a company spokesman. Demand is so high, the company adds employees to keep pace, he said.
“Use goes up about four times during the summer months on outside machines,” he said. “It's generally water and Powerade.”
At the Pepsi Bottling Group, the largest bottler for Pepsi-Cola products, vending machines sales increase in the summer as well as purchases inside, spokesman Mike Goodwin said.
To ensure the machines don't run out, the company uses a special computer software in Arizona to collect sales information, Goodwin said.
“It allows us to predict exactly when the right time to refill the machine is and what the right products are to put into that machine,” he said.
To cope with the intense temperature of an East Valley summer, Pepsi in June started using a heavy duty bottle cap on its plastic bottles.
“It's called the XT Cap, which stands for extreme temperature,” Goodwin said, adding the cap is only used here. “It was specifically designed for the Arizona heat and we're the only company that uses this cap.”
Karen Ramos, an Albertson's spokeswoman, said sales of its private label soft drink sold in 12-ounce cans from machines have increased significantly since the hot weather hit, as have water sales inside the store.
“People are really buying a lot of bottled drinks,” she said.
“In some cases, we're doubling sales depending on location,” he said The market is so good here that Coke, which makes Dasani water, invested millions of dollars a month ago to add a production line here for the bottled water.
“Previously, we had to ship in primarily from California,” Anaya said. “But the demand has been so huge in Phoenix that we just had to put the line in.”