Everyone has at least once been through the moment of frustration where they walk into a restaurant, have their drink order taken, and when they ask for a Coke, their waiter responds, “Is Pepsi alright?” Attending UMBC, this is a scenario the student body was forced to face every day, and obviously, it was never truly “alright.”
It has been a long journey for UMBC students and staff who for years endured through the limited options offered by PepsiCo, but these dark days have finally come to a close. Over winter break, UMBC began the transition of replacing all PepsiCo fountains and vending machines with ones from Coke, as well as filling the shelves of Outtakes.
Yes, the Coca-Cola Bottling Company is now the new beverage provider of UMBC after what was said to be a “competitive procurement process for its campus beverage contract” by UMBC Insights.
Everyone has their favorite between the two in this decades-long-feud, much like Backstreet Boys or NSYNC. With that being said, there is a clear favorite among fans, and in this scenario, Coke is the Backstreet Boys, the superior of the two when it comes to sales.
According to Beverage Digest, in 2013, Pepsi came in third place in ownership of the carbonated beverage market with 8.9 percent, coming in behind Coke in first place, and Diet Coke in second.
Although some soda drinkers will tell you there is no difference between the two, most people will point out the considerably sweeter taste found in Pepsi, which is often a turnoff for these consumers. Despite this, Pepsi does typically prevail in blind taste tests. This could be a result of how taste tests are conducted with modest sips and not drunken in larger portions like soda drinking typically is, and honestly, no one wants an overabundance of sweet drinks.
It is not simply just that Coke over Pepsi is preferred, it is the products offered as a whole as well. Coca-Cola’s lemon-lime and root beer options, Sprite and Barq’s, respectively, are seemingly overwhelmingly more popular than their PepsiCo counterparts. So, Coke also wins over Pepsi for variety of options with the exception that Wild Cherry Pepsi is better than Cherry Coke, but everyone knows that.
This is not the first time this school year that UMBC snuck in a new provider into dining establishments. Students returned to school this past fall to find Commons hotspots Mesquite and Jow Jings gone, and in their place, Pollo and Hissho Sushi appeared unannounced for currently unknown reasons. Both offer similar options to their predecessors, but the absence of a beef option is well noted and missed, as well as any noticeable student involvement.
Despite the changes, Pepsi fans should not worry. They can still get their fix on campus. A limited amount of Pepsi products are still sold inside the Yum Shoppe in Commons, hidden away in the back corner of the store, much like Coke was for many years before the switch. However, they will have to use actual money instead of meals or flex.
Pepsi is gone now and Coke, after being welcomed to UMBC with open arms, is here to stay for the foreseeable future, and we want it that way.