Penn State Mulling Soft Drink Contract Change

In 1992, Penn State inked a 10-year contract with Pepsi, making the beverage company the sole provider of soft drinks in on-campus locations. The business relationship between the two parties extended for years after, but in June 2022, the partnership was set to expire.

Although the university renewed the contract with Pepsi for another year, that decision was made in order to allow Penn State to enter the market for a different deal — potentially even with a new vendor.

“Adhering to sound business practice for when a large contract expires, Penn State is preparing to put it out for bid and in May renewed its contract with Pepsi for one year to provide ample time to undertake this process,” a Penn State spokesperson wrote in August.

On Tuesday, a semi-trailer truck emblazoned with Coca-Cola branding was spotted outside Beaver Stadium, unloading products to be rolled into the building. Coca-Cola could not be reached for comment.

Although the Coca-Cola truck sparked speculation about an impending deal, Penn State has not yet agreed to a contract.

“We are working through the evaluation process,” a spokesperson confirmed. “No vendor has been selected yet.”

In her first year as Penn State’s president, Neeli Bendapudi has made a number of staff and policy changes since taking office — an expected outcome of a leadership change in any large entity. The choice between sticking with Pepsi or switching to an alternative distributor could serve as one of Bendapudi’s most publicly notable decisions to date, with similar contracts around the Big Ten reportedly raking in upward of $80 million.

“This move is in line with our ongoing focus on fiscal responsibility, with the intent to garner the most favorable contract terms for the University,” a spokesperson said in August.

There is currently no public timetable as to when a decision could be made or announced.

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About the Author

Sam Fremin

Sam is a senior from Ashburn, Virginia, majoring in journalism and political science & minoring in German and creative writing. He is a Dallas Cowboys fan who relishes the misery of Eagles fans. All hate messages can be sent to [email protected] or @SamFremin on Twitter.

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