You probably know Sodastream as that cool fizzy water machine your trendiest friend owns, or by its hilarious and creative April Fool’s Day ads, featuring celebrities such as Paris Hilton. As the world’s biggest sparkling water brand with over 100 years’ experience, its home carbonation machines make drinking water fun while championing alternatives to single-use plastics.
But there’s more – the innovative brand promotes world peace and inclusivity right from the assembly line.
In November last year (way before the Covid-19 outbreak, thankfully), we joined Sodastream Singapore and their Tribe Leaders – a group of trailblazing individuals who embody the brand’s philosophy of healthy, stylish living – on their first-ever experiential trip to Sodastream’s “Island Of Peace” factory in Israel. The facility churns out 32,000 units of their famous sparkling water makers every day.
The “secret ingredient”?
Located in Rahat, which is about an hour’s drive from the capital Tel Aviv and about 20km from the conflict-ridden Gaza strip, the 86,000-sqm Sodastream plant seems to spring up in the middle of the Negev Desert like a giant oasis.
The factory is aptly named the “Island Of Peace”, and employs over 2,000 workers of different ethnicities and religions. Here, Arabs and Jews, Israelis and Palestinians and even Bedouins (nomadic groups) all work side-by-side in harmony.
Whether they’re assembling the various machine parts from the body unit to the CO2 gas cylinders, doing quality control checks or carefully packing them into boxes ready to be shipped to 45 countries around the world, the atmosphere in the workroom was lively and fun. At one point, someone blasted a remix of “Baby Shark”, and workers started singing along to it.
This multi-ethnic workforce is Sodastream’s “secret ingredient”, offering a hopeful glimpse into a more peaceful world, in a region often known for its political conflicts.
On top of that, the long-standing brand is also breaking barriers in other ways. They’ve opened an assembly line in a local prison to teach prisoners new skills and have even officially recruited a few of them.
They have also created jobs for hundreds of women, particularly those from the Bedouin communities who would otherwise likely remain unemployed. At the time of writing, they’re also in the process of opening a daycare centre for employees to help create work-life balance for working mums.
Fizz to good health
It’s hard to resist the allure of fizzy soft drinks, but we all know sipping on too many sugary beverages wreaks havoc on your body, from tooth decay to increased diabetes risk.
So if you’re yearning for a healthier way to imbibe, their machines like the Sodastream Spirit, which won a Red Dot Award in 2017, lets you control the amount of fizz and sugar each time so you can indulge in the bubbly beverage guilt-free. And if you find drinking water a chore or hates the flat taste of regular water, having a refreshing fizzy alternative could compel you to drink more water.
Want more taste? Get creative by adding fresh fruits or pick from Sodastream’s extensive range of drink mixes that contains zero to two-thirds less sugar than regular carbonated canned drinks. For instance, the Zeros range contains natural sweeteners, flavours and colours, as well as vitamins B3, B6, D and E.
Over at Sodastream’s headquarters in Kfar Saba, Israel, they’re constantly coming up with new and exciting flavours to whet your palate. We even caught a glimpse of their R&D team in action (photos were strictly prohibited, though).
Saving the earth, one bottle at a time
Besides encouraging healthier choices, Sodastream also empowers you to lead a more eco-conscious lifestyle. Their long-term goal? To effectively end the use of single-use plastic bottles.
They reiterated this stand on Earth Day 2020, where the brand announced a slew of green initiatives, including switching the bottles of their flavoured drink mixes from plastic to metal ones.
It also leads the way with its signature clear, reusable bottles that you can carry with you to the gym, work and travels; each one can replace 2,000 disposable bottles for a family in a year!
The machine is also manually operated, so you don’t require batteries or a power source. You can also exchange your used CO2 cylinders for new ones, while the empty cylinders are shipped back to the factories to be sanitised, checked and refilled to be used again.
Indeed, many brands want to make the world a better place, but few do it like Sodastream. During the trip to Israel, we were each given our own Sodastream My Only Bottle, which is a more compact version of the regular bottle and comes with a strap for convenience. Today, the bottle remains our trusty travel companion, reminding us with every sip that bubbles can truly change the world.
We asked Sodastream’s Tribe Leaders for their top tips on living a healthy lifestyle:
Marie Choo, 43, Dog Behaviourist and Ultra Trail Runner
Stay hydrated. “I make my own sparkling water at home, and I like to flavour them with fresh fruits and herbs like homegrown mint, basil, berries, apples, and whatever I have in the fridge.”
Move it. “Exercise keeps you young and fit. Walk wherever you can, even if you don’t go running or to the gym.”
Bask in nature. “Let the fresh air rejuvenate you. We have many nature parks and reserves that are free for exploration.”
Sabrina Wee, 31, Founder, Goya The Label
Plan ahead. “Consider meal prepping, so you know what you put in your body, and use reusable food containers while you’re at it!”
Carry a reusable bag wherever you go. “I try to opt out of using carriers when checking out at shops.”
Use your legs. “I try to walk and take public transport wherever possible, so I reduce my carbon footprint, and get that extra bit of movement every day.”
Feeling inspired? Get your hands on your own sparkling water maker at Sodastream’s online store here.
Photos: Fred Leow for Sodastream Singapore & Elizabeth Liew