Business Insider.nl : Are scent pods from the Air Up water bottle cheaper than regular soft drinks? We examined the price difference with cheap Aldi soft drinks and Coca-Cola. A water bottle with so-called ‘pods’ that emit a scent, giving you the impression of drinking iced coffee or cola; the Air Up is a big hit among teenagers. The eponymous German company has already sold over 2 million bottles with scent pods to customers in eleven countries. The idea is that young people will opt for sugary drinks like cola less frequently as a result.
However, there is a price tag attached to the pods. A packet of three scent pods costs €5.95 to €8.95, depending on the flavor, through the Air Up website. That may seem like a lot for water with a scent.
Still, Air Up entrepreneur Lena Jüngst doesn’t consider her product to be expensive. She points out that one scent pod works for about 5 liters of water. So, with a packet of three pods, you can flavor 15 liters of water. “If you buy the cheapest pods, it comes down to around €0.40 per liter of water. That’s much cheaper than the cheapest soft drinks or juices from the supermarket,” Jüngst tells Business Insider.
Air Up pods cheaper than soft drinks?
This claim holds true, Business Insider calculates. If you drink one and a half to two liters of water per day, as recommended by the Nutrition Center, you can use three scent pods for seven and a half to ten days. After that, you’ll need to pay €5.95 to €8.95 for new scent pods.
Most store-brand soft drinks at the discount supermarket Aldi cost €0.89 per bottle of one and a half liters. If you were to trade the scent pods for 15 liters of these soft drinks, it would cost you €8.90. Roughly the same amount as the most expensive scent pods from Air Up.
The difference becomes more significant when comparing the price level of the German startup to the unit price of a one-and-a-half-liter bottle of Coca-Cola at Albert Heijn. At Albert Heijn, you pay €2.39 for one and a half liters of Coca-Cola. If you gulp down 15 liters of Coca-Cola, that would cost you €23.90 based on prices at AH. That’s €14.95 more than the costliest package of scent pods from Air Up.
Air Up offers many packets of three fruity scent pods, such as elderflower, apple, and cherry, priced from €5.95 to €8.95.
Are you better off with such a packet compared to a bottle of Roosvicee fruit mix priced at €1.99? A bottle of Roosvicee contains half a liter of syrup, which, according to the manufacturer, can fill fifteen 200-milliliter glasses. So, it can provide 3 liters of sweet-tasting water.
The three scent pods from Air Up, once again, are good for 15 liters. To fill 15 liters of water glasses with Roosvicee, we would need five bottles of this sugary drink. This would cost €9.95 – exactly €1 more than the priciest pods from Air Up.
Calculation with the purchase price of Air Up bottles
However, there’s a catch. To use the scent pods from Air Up, you need a bottle from the brand. Air Up sells its bottles at prices ranging from €34.95 to €64.95. With the €34.50 bottle, you get two pods, and with the €64.95 bottle, you get five pods.
If you add the purchase price of the bottle to the equation, the price advantage of the scent pods compared to soft drinks disappears immediately. The question then is: after purchasing how many scent pods do you recoup the cost of the bottles?
Business Insider compares the cost of the cheapest €34.50 bottle against that of the cheapest soft drinks at Aldi, which cost €0.89 per one-and-a-half-liter bottle. For the sake of simplicity, let’s calculate with the cheapest pods priced at €5.95 for three.
You would need to buy 33 of these scent pods, which is eleven packets with three pods per packet, to be cheaper than the cheapest soft drinks at Aldi, including the bottle. Here’s how it breaks down:
Eleven packets of the cheapest pods would cost you €65.45. If you add the cost of the cheapest Air Up bottle, the total comes to around €100.40. However, you get two free pods with the bottle, so when you account for that, the total cost is approximately €96.
With 33 scent pods, you can drink 165 liters of water with a sweet scent. If you were to buy 165 liters of the cheapest soft drink at Aldi, it would cost you €97.90.
If you drink one and a half to two liters of water per day, it would take you 82.5 to 110 days to recoup the cost of the least expensive bottle.
Therefore, Air Up only becomes a cost-effective option for users who replace soft drinks with the German company’s scent pods over an extended period.
Does Air Up taste like soft drinks?
The crucial question is whether water from an Air Up bottle really tastes the same as a soft drink or fruit drink. To test this, we tried drinking water from a large, black Air Up bottle for three weeks straight. We tested various pods, including strawberry, iced coffee, and lemon.
To cut to the chase, water from an Air Up bottle still tastes primarily like tap water. By inhaling deeply through the nose while drinking, we did experience a stronger scent. This in itself is a fun, unique experience, but it only adds a mild flavor while drinking. However, there is a slight aftertaste that lingers.
Our experience is that some flavors work better than others. The strawberry pods have a less pronounced effect, but the lemon pods turn out to be quite strong. With these scent pods, you truly feel like you’re drinking lemon water. The question is, what is the value of this flavor? Couldn’t you just as easily put a slice of lemon in a water bottle? There’s nothing unhealthy about that.
“That’s true,” says Jüngst, “but people often don’t do that. They are usually a bit lazy because you have to cut the lemon and put it in the water. Often, they opt for a drink from the supermarket instead.”