Coke Vs. Pepsi: The debate settled- For now
By: Andrew Ameer
If you’ve been paying attention around campus over this past summer, you will have noticed the Coke machines quietly being replaced with shiny new Pepsi machines. Look in the cafeteria, and it’s the same story with the soft drink dispensers. Even the drinks available for sale in the bookstore have been replaced by Pepsi products. Why? It all has to do with highly competitive contracts negotiated with the major drink brands.
Back in 2000, the STLCC administration decided to solicit bids for “pouring rights” contracts to decide which company would have the opportunity to provide exclusive drink vending services for the college. Coke won that first battle, with a 10 year contract. According to Christina Hart,
Auxiliary services manager at the Forest Park campus, who is also in charge of vending contracts and serves as the liaison between the college and the outside vendors, the bidding process is very competitive and comes with great financial benefits for the college.
After Coke’s 10 year contract ended in 2011, the college issued another request for proposal, in which companies bid again for rights to become the exclusive drinks vendor for the college. Coke won this round again, this time with a 5 year contract.
In June 2016, Coke’s contract expired again. This time, when the Requests for Proposals went out, Pepsi came out ahead with a much stronger financial package for the college than Coke. According to Hart, Pepsi offered over $100,000 a year in sponsorships, scholarships, and free products which Coke was offered the opportunity to match, but couldn’t. Hart says the college was happy with Coke’s service over the years but Pepsi simply had a better offer. The college also receives a commission of approximately 30-40 percent off all the beverage vending.
Hart says it is a team of people who decide which contracts to accept and reject, made up of auxiliary services faculty members.
The new contract with Pepsi is for five years with an option for two more contract periods of three years each after that.
Reaction has been mixed, although generally positive among her colleagues, Hart says. “People have been really happy with the Pepsi. They say that Coke was a St. Louis thing, but I guess Pepsi really is. I’ve had people tell me that they love their Coke, but we have a whole group of people who weren’t drinking it because it they don’t drink Coke.”