The Coca-Cola Co. has increased testing of its Arctic Coke machines to approximately 800 convenience stores across the U.S.
The Arctic Coke machine turns a bottle of Coca-Cola into a slushy in seconds. A shopper selects a 20-oz. bottle from the Arctic Coke cooler, which keeps the beverages at a temperature below freezing, and places it on a platform. The shopper then can push a button to have the machine vibrate the bottle, forming ice crystals in the drink within a second.
The machine holds 70 bottles, which are chilled to below 30 degrees Fahrenheit (compared to 45 degrees Fahrenheit in a traditional cooler).
“Consumers find it both fun and innovative,” said Kim Drucker, director of platform innovation for Coca-Cola North America. “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 promise of having an icy-cold Coke from the first sip to the last sip really resonates.”
Drucker described the finished product as a uniquely slushy drink: “Frozen carbonated drinks are lighter and airier. The Arctic Coke experience is more like what you get from drinking a Coke in a cup with soft, crushed ice, and the ice that forms is made of the liquid inside the bottle, so it doesn’t dilute the drink.”
Coca-Cola research and development has been working on the Arctic Coke project for decades, partnering with Supercooler Technologies in 2015. A team of NASA engineers with expertise in cryogenics developed the chilling and proprietary technologies which keep drinks on the verge of freezing and then create the slushing effect.
Coca-Cola has been piloting the coolers in 20 Indianapolis area convenience stores since June 2016, with the company indicating that sales rose 15 to 20 percent at those locations.
The machines offer Coke, Diet Coke, Powerade Mountain Blast and Sprite. Mello Yello, Cherry Coke and Fanta Orange soon will be added in select areas.