Coca Cola and Pepsi Battle Over San Francisco University ‘Pouring Rights’
Will either be accepted at the University?
The Soda Giants are at war again, with Pepsi Co. and Coca Cola vying for the young and thirsty at San Francisco State University. The school has promised to drop a controversial ‘pouring rights’ contract for sugary drinks.
Two bids from the soft drink giants were being reviewed by a committee of students, faculty, and staff to decide whether Pepsi or Coca Cola (or neither) would be able to sell their drinks at the University.
University President Les Wong stopped the process before a decision had been made and before the university began negotiations with either company. Wong says that he carefully listened to the concerns from the review board, and decided to go forward with negotiations even though many were concerned for students’ and faculty members’ health.
Wong said that the decision could cost student programs, scholarships and athletics, and cited reduced state support for public universities in recent years. He commented:
“I remain committed to finding ways to generate additional financial support for our students and programs, and I hope that students will join me in this effort.”
His remarks were parroted by a representative for Coca Cola, who said that the company:
“ . . .is committed to supporting the students and community of San Francisco State University, and respects their decision. We will continue to listen to the university community and find ways to collaborate in the future.”
Pepsi Co. did not respond to the decision.
San Francisco voters rejected a soda tax last year backed by City Hall, but in June this year the city passed some of the strictest laws in the country regulating soda and sugary drinks. The city now requires warning labels on the drinks; new soda ads are required to have the same. The city is banned from spending money on advertising for soda.
The American Beverage Association (ABA) sued the city of San Francisco in Federal Court in July, claiming the laws violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments. That lawsuit is pending.
The ABA spent $10 million last year to help defeat the proposed soda tax on the November 2014 ballot.
New studies, including one from Harvard, link sugary drinks like soda to the obesity epidemic in America, yet companies like Coca-Cola will downright lie to you, saying that soda is not the real culprit.
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Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.