An Israeli fizzy drinks company long targeted by boycotters has been bought by the owner of Pepsi for £2.5 billion ($3.2 billion).
SodaStream, which has incurred the wrath of pro-Palestinian activists for its factory in a large West Bank settlement, agreed terms with PepsiCo this week, with the American soft drink giant promising to expand the company’s reach.
Active across several continents, Sodastream makes a machine and refillable cylinders which allows domestic users to make their own carbonated drinks, which is increasingly seen as a healthier alternative to the sugary drinks popular for decades.
PepsiCo already has extensive Israeli links and jointly owns – together with an Israeli foodmaker – an initiative distributing Sabra dips and hummus around the world.
SodaStream was set up in Britain in 1903 by a London gin distiller, and the company still had a factory in Peterborough as late as 2003, when production transferred to Israel and the West Bank under its new Israeli owners.
It became the subject of attention from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign in 2005, and in 2010 the European Union decreed that it could not label its products as ‘Made in Israel’ within the EU.
In 2014, actress Scarlett Johansen stepped down from her role as Oxfam ambassador after appearing in adverts for the company, while in the same year SodaStream was forced to close a store in Brighton after weekly BDS protests.