Soda Companies Have Contracts with Most American Schools

How are soda companies targeting teenagers these days? By negotiating contracts with school systems for sole “pouring rights.” In fact, four out of every five public high schools have agreements with either Coca-Cola or Pepsi to exclusively serve their beverages on their premises, reports Mother Jones.

These contracts stipulate that the soda companies’ products will be sold in vending machines, cafeterias, snack bars and at afterschool functions. Advertisements that promote the sugary beverages are also furnished to the schools to keep the thought of soda on the kids’ minds throughout the day.

While many school officials know the health risks associated with offering soda to their students, the allure of extra money can be too much for cash-scrapped schools to ignore. The contracts are quite lucrative and provide supplemental income to schools at a time when government budget cuts are rampant. For example, Coca-Cola signed a deal with the Rockford, Illinois school district. The decade-long agreement established that the company would give the schools over seven million dollars to sell Coke products in school buildings.

With this sizeable additional revenue, schools like those in Rockford are able to pay for teachers’ assistants, field trips and new technology for the classroom. Consequentially, school superintendents are left in the uneasy predicament of determining whether the benefit of having otherwise unaffordable school resources outweighs the health costs of giving a soda corporation a prominent position in their buildings. Given that 80% of public schools have opted in to these contracts, it is clear which decision the majority of school districts are making.

Although school districts are more likely to leave their younger students out of these cola promotions, they certainly are not left out altogether. Almost half of American public elementary schools have soda pouring contracts, meaning the companies are catching these kids early.

Some official do not even see the problem with giving kids easy access to soda. One often used excuse is that students who do not have access to junk food at school just wind up eating more of it at home, but a study conducted by the University of Illinois found that was not the case. A second study by the same researchers found that kids in schools where junk food is restricted were more likely to be of a healthy weight. With about one third of American kids currently considered overweight or obese, this discrepancy seems important.

Soda pouring contracts may eventually be in jeopardy. Two years ago, President Barack Obama signed legislation that mandated that the United States Department of Agriculture develop countrywide regulations on sodas and snacks sold in schools. However, the USDA has yet to produce any such recommendations.

Related Stories:

88% of High School Students Have Access to Sugary Drinks

Banning Soda in Schools Has Little Impact

9 Disturbing Side Effects of Soda

Photo Credit: Ethan Bloch


Jim Ven
Jim V1 years ago

thanks for sharing.

Natasha Salgado
Past Member 5 years ago

Try getting almond and soya milk contracts instead!!!! A much better alternative.

Duane B.
.5 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Cheryl B.
Cheryl B5 years ago


Cheryl B.
Cheryl B5 years ago


Huber F.
Huber F5 years ago

refresh your thirst with Coke.

ANA MARIJA R5 years ago

Thanks for this info!

Miranda Lyon
Miranda Lyon5 years ago

Water is better for kids than soda...but what about all those plastic bottles? What's wrong with plain old water fountains around campus and in the classroom sink? Undiluted juice is hard to digest. The "fortified" cow's milk, often flavored, served in the cafeteria is no better. The real issue is an overall one about nutrition and healthy eating/drinking habits.

Parents and other folks who actually care about the education of children should demand that education be a top government funding priority. There's enough money, the problem is the choices made by our representatives about the areas where the money is spent. That's the answer to school funding shortfalls, not selling our children out to corporate interests in exchange for cash.

Lika S.
Lika P5 years ago

Well, it's not like we can't ask for the better options.

Coke makes Dasani water, Eva water, flavored seltzer waters, teas (of varying sweetness) and even owns Minute Made

Pepsi has aquafina, Ocean Spray juices, Sobe teas, and Lipton.

Many of these are either perfect, because it's water, or at least better than soda. I'm sure, to be able to keep the vending machines, that they would be willing to switch, so the kids won't complain there isn't anything for them to drink, nor will the parents/schools complain about the obesity enhancing beverages.

paola ballanti
Paola Ballanti5 years ago

il mondo gira solo attorno ai soldi, chi se ne frega se ai bambini fa male