Coca-Cola products no longer at CSUEB



By Shoib Ahmadazai, CONTRIBUTOR

Coca-Cola branded drinks will no longer be sold on campus until at least 2021 following an exclusivity deal between California State University, East Bay and PepsiCo.
The deal with PepsiCo gave the university checks totaling $39,751, with the first fiscal check received on July 27, 2018 and the last check received March 8, 2019, according to Jon Medwin, director of procurement and support services at CSUEB.
Medwin adds that the university expects three more payments from PepsiCo before the end of the university’s fiscal year in June 30, 2019.
The revenue from the exclusivity deal “goes to the Enterprise Activities Department ID 13660,” which he adds is a subset of housing.
“Among other things, the revenue is used to pay for the staff member (salary/benefits),” Medwin stated.
The deal also provides payments to student assistants responsible for overseeing the account and ensuring that the vending machines are operational.
The deal is related to “pouring rights,” CSUEB’s Chief Financial Officer, Bonnie Chaw said in an interview. Pouring rights are exclusive rights of selling one particular company’s products on a school campus.
The original deal with PepsiCo dates back to at least Sept. 1, 2007. Until this school year, Pepsi, a multinational beverage, snack and food company had allowed the university to sell Coca-Cola products through specific concessions like the bookstore, even though it had a pouring rights deal, said Chaw. That all changed in late 2018.
The Pioneer Bookstore, owned and operated by Follett, was the only place on campus to purchase drinks produced and distributed by The Coca-Cola Co. Such drinks included Coca-Cola, Sprite, Fanta, Peace Iced Tea, vitaminwater, Minute Maid, Dasani, Smartwater and Monster Energy.
The bookstore’s general merchandise manager, Michelle Duarte, said shipments of Coca-Cola drinks ceased since the end of the Fall 2018 semester. Remnants of Coke products still continue to be on sale at the bookstore.
By the beginning of the Spring 2019 semester, a small sign taped on the Coca-Cola store coolers informed customers at the Pioneer Bookstore that it would no longer carry Coke products, apologizing for any inconvenience.
The bookstore vending cooler for Coca-Cola products was replaced on March 5 with a ‘Hello Goodness’ cooler, Duarte said. Hello Goodness is a Pepsi-owned brand focusing on healthier drinks such as water, sparkling water and iced tea.

The Pioneer Bookstore at CSU, East Bay in Hayward, Calif.

The discontinuation of Coca-Cola Co. products on campus was always part of the plan, Chaw added.
“The intent was always once the university renewed or renegotiated our contract with Follett that they then would cease to have Coke products,” Chaw said.
As a contracted vendor, Follett gains nothing from the deal, Chaw said. The deal is between the University and Pepsi.
“What the university gets as part of this deal with PepsiCo is some financial benefits.”
Financial benefits generated from the deal do not affect student tuition but provide funds that are used to pay for commercial services related to student affairs.
Universities generally receive large checks over pouring rights from the two largest competing beverage companies, Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo.
Pouring rights have made millions of dollars for college campuses throughout the US. In fact, pouring rights have even extended to K–12 schools, according to Forbes.
The beverage companies primarily benefit the most from pouring rights deals. Such benefits include having their brands advertised all over campuses, various sponsorships, access to marketing through student unions and more.
Reactions over the renewed pouring rights deal at CSUEB have been mixed.
Duarte stated that there hasn’t been much reaction over the discontinuation of Coke beverages at the bookstore. Many students are oblivious that there ever were Coke products sold on campus.
“I didn’t even know about it,” Junior Edgar Garcia, said. Senior Tanner Johnson, said the change has not affected him, but still called it “bogus.”
“It’s less that I mind Coca-Cola isn’t being sold and more that East Bay made a deal with Pepsi for exclusivity, which is bogus,” Johnson said, explaining that he resented the monopoly.
Other campus members were more upset.
Junior Angella Cirillo, said that while she supports the sale of fewer unhealthy drinks on campus, she disagrees with the decision and is bothered that there are fewer options available.
Ryan Wallace, a communications professor at CSUEB and self-admitted fan of Coca-Cola was also upset after discovering the exclusivity deal.
“I was really dismayed to find out that the beginning of this semester that my secret spot for Coca-Cola no longer carried it,” Wallace said. “I had to start bringing my own in.”
Wallace added that he would try relying on other drinks available on campus, but that he feels he is left with options he generally does not consume. “Personally, I don’t drink coffee. I’m addicted to soda of various types, so that’s pretty much my option,” he further stated.
The pouring rights deal at CSUEB is in effect until Aug. 31, 2021.
Currently, the only place to purchase Coke products on campus are through third-party vendors such as the food trucks.