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Friday, 30 June, 2000, 10:44 GMT 11:44 UK
$2m Pepsi deal for schools
Vending machines
The school district has still to decide on the Pepsi offer
You can have Pepsi or Pepsi or ... er ... Pepsi. This could be the range of drinks on offer in an exclusive deal under consideration between the soft drinks giant and a school authority in California in the United States.

If Sacramento City Unified School District agrees to an exclusive "pouring contract" with Pepsi it will receive $2m in a five-year deal.

This will mean that all the schools in the authority will only be able to sell Pepsi and the company's other soft drink products - preventing the sales of any drinks from any rival manufacturers.

As well as having exclusive rights to the drinks available to pupils and staff, sold through vending machines, the deal would extend to parents' evenings at school - with Pepsi products to be made available.

For the drinks' company, the scheme would boost sales, help to build brand loyalty and would encourage youngsters to develop a taste for their products.

And for the 77 schools in the authority, this would mean extra funds for sports equipment, field trips and other extra-curricular requirements.

But there have been concerns from some parents about whether schools should be promoting a healthier diet, rather than taking money from a fizzy drink manufacturer.

A meeting to discuss the deal, which will be open to the public, is expected to be held on 10 July, with a decision on whether to go ahead with the proposal expected the following week.

At present, there have been deals between individual schools and manufacturers. But a spokesman for the school board says that what makes this proposal different is that it will be a single, negotiated arrangement for a whole authority - earning twice the income available from local deals.

According to the education authority, there will be no extra marketing in schools and principals will still control the number and placing of vending machines.

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