Ann Arbor Chooses Coke over Pepsi

Coke will be replacing Pepsi in Ann Arbor parks facilities, as a result of action taken by the Ann Arbor city council on May 13, 2013 at a meeting that had started on May 6. The city council acted on a recommendation by the Ann Arbor park advisory commission at its April 16, 2013 meeting. The commission’s recommended approval of a five-year contract with Coca-Cola Refreshments for cold beverage concessions was unanimous, as was the council’s vote.

However, councilmembers expressed concerns about Coca-Cola’s human rights record, the nutritive value of soft drinks, and the fact that no local vendor had responded to the city’s request for proposals (RFP).

A 10-year contract with Pepsi Bottling Group of Michigan is set to expire in June of 2013. In vying for the new contract, only two companies responded to an RFP. According to a staff memo, the other bidder was disqualified after failing to meet the bid deadline. The memo did not name that company, but deputy parks and recreation manager Jeff Straw told commissioners at the PAC meeting that it was Pepsi who had missed the deadline.

The new contract will cost the city an estimated $25,000 annually for non-vending items, but the city expects to generate $47,500 in revenues from the beverage sales. In addition, Coca-Cola Refreshments will provide an annual sponsorship fee of $10,000 to the parks and recreation unit, and give a 96-cents-per-case rebate on each case that’s sold. These funds will be used to provide scholarships to low-income kids for parks and recreation programs. The case rebate is estimated to bring in $700 to $1,000 each year for scholarships, according to Straw.

The company also will provide 50 cases of free product each year for public special events, and will sponsor four special events annually with product sampling and free giveaways. The firm also will provide recycling containers with credit for returnables.

Concessions and vending are located at Leslie Park Golf Course, Huron Hills Golf Course, Veterans Memorial Park, Buhr Park Pool and Ice Rink, Fuller Park Pool, Mack Indoor Pool, Gallup Park Canoe Livery and Argo Canoe Livery.

This brief was filed from the second-floor council chambers at city hall, located at 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow: [link]