Pepsi or Coke?: Rider weighs soft drink options

By Katie Zeck

While many do not put deciding on a favorite beverage provider in the same category as deciding to become a Republican or Democrat, or a meat-eater versus a vegetarian, it is the decision Rider must make before its contract with Pepsi is up on Dec. 1.

With the expiration of the 13-year long contract with Pepsi, Rider is looking to evaluate the quality of its present beverage provider with that of its competition, the company in red, Coca-Cola.
Pepsi and Coca-Cola have provided Rider with an overview of the products and services they plan to offer if chosen, according to Mike Reca, associate vice president of Auxiliary Services.

“We are still in the stage of negotiations and contract review,” Reca said. “The new contract, with whoever it may be, will be the beverage provider for both the Lawrenceville and Princeton campuses.”

Many students find that a switch would be a refreshing change of pace.

“I think Rider should go with Coke because it would be nice to have some new flavors and drinks around Daly’s, as opposed to the same things that we’re all used to,” said sophomore finance major Dan McSwain. “Variety is always welcome.”

A committee made up of students and staff from the departments of Athletics, Development, Finance, Auxiliary Services, Sustainability, SGA, Eco-reps and Aramark interviewed representatives from both Coca-Cola and Pepsi and is currently reviewing the overall package.

The presentations consisted of the representatives explaining what their companies would be able to bring to the table for Rider, added Reca.

“They talked about the way they’ve worked with other universities in the past, the diversification of their products and what new features they hope to bring to Rider,” he said.

“They also brought up key selling points, such as what their most popular item is among young adults, as well as where they are ranked internationally as a beverage company.”

The packages presented consisted of an overall vending price, the company’s service ability, product diversification, flexibility of service, sustainability and incentives such as free products for students, giveaways and athletic sponsorships, as well as other promotional items the company would be looking to provide Rider students.

According to Reca, this criteria, when taken into consideration as a whole, comes strongly into play when negotiating which provider to select.
Sophomore Lark Stagnitto expressed her opinion on the battle of the beverages.

“I enjoy Coke products more than Pepsi,” she said. “I feel Coke has a crisper taste; to switch from Pepsi to Coke would be nice.”

On the other hand, sophomore Tommy Lenahan does not feel that the University’s current provider is lacking.

“I think the current beverages on campus are fine. I like the Pepsi products and really haven’t had a problem with them.”

The committee will make its decision within the next few weeks and provide the finance board with its recommendation. The administrative finance board will then discuss the company that is favored with President Mordechai Rozanski, after which a final decision will be made.
Reca added that the changes that need to be made to the University’s beverage facilites based on which company is chosen will be carried out over winter break.

“Whatever transition we need to make, whether it is updating what we already have or bringing in all new vending machines and drink dispensers, will be done during that break,” he said. “You’ll know when you walk onto campus the start of spring semester who we will have chosen.”

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