Arctic Coke Coolers Turn Sodas Into Slushies In 800 C-Stores

Posted On: 2/19/2018

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ATLANTA -- Coca-Cola has expanded the test of its Arctic Coke machine to 800 U.S. convenience stores. The state-of-the-art cooler turns an extra-cold bottle of Coca-Cola into a slushy in a matter of seconds.

Coca-Cola debuted Arctic Coke in June 2016 at 20 convenience stores in the Indianapolis area at the participating locations were up 15% to 20%, prompting the beverage giant to expand the pilot.

A shopper selects a 20-fl.oz. bottle from the Arctic Coke cooler -- which keeps the beverages at a temperature just below freezing -- and places it on a platform. Then, they push a button. Artic Coke vibrates the bottle and sends an "invisible shiver" through the liquid, forming ice crystals in a fraction of a second. The unit backlights the bottle so the transformation is visible.

"Consumers find it both fun and innovative," said Coca-Cola North America director of platform innovation Kim Drucker. "They're drawn in by the fact that they can be part of the transformation process. And what brings them back is the fact that the drink they just helped make stays colder for longer."

The pilot currently includes Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Sprite and Powerade Mountain Blast. Cherry Coke, Fanta Orange and Mello Yello will soon be added in select outlets, and other brands will likely follow suit.

Arctic Coke holds 70 bottles, which are chilled to below 30°F. compared with 45°F. in a traditional cooler.

Drucker described the Arctic Coke experience as drinking a Coke in a cup with soft, crushed ice. The ice that forms is made of the liquid inside the bottle, so it doesn't dilute the drink.

"What we're trying to do is heighten the sensorial experience," Drucker said. "They're getting the same delicious Coke they know and love; we're just creating a visual effect that engages the consumer and in engaging them in the process of crafting their beverage."

Coca-Cola's said its R&D team had been working on the Arctic Coke project for decades before partnering with Supercooler Technologies Inc. in 2015. A team of NASA engineers with expertise in cryogenics developed the precision chilling and proprietary nucleating technologies, which keep drinks on the verge of freezing, and then create the slushing effect.  

Coke company has used targeted mobile advertising and social media to spread the word and help people locate a nearby cooler. Drucker said her team is exploring additional channels beyond convenience stores where the Artic Coke experience could be a fit.