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Papa John’s Pizza Ditches Coke For Pepsi

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Beginning in January, Pepsi will be the exclusive drink of choice at Papa John’s Pizza’s roughly 3,000 U.S.stores, Pepsi and Papa John’s representatives said Thursday.

The switch in January will end Papa John’s exclusive 25-year relationship with Coca-Cola.

“Our contract with Coke was set to expire and as we reviewed what we were going to do in a new contract, Pepsi earned our business” spokesman Chris Sternberg said.

“Part of the reason for the switch was the appeal of Pepsi drinks like Mountain Dew, a popular drink among younger males, Sternberg said, “that’s going to align well for us because we have a heavy usage among 15- to 25-year-old males.”

Coke spokesman Scott Williamson said the company does not comment on its customer partnerships.

John Sicher, publisher of Beverage Digest, said that the loss of Papa John’s shouldn’t have a huge impact on Coke’s bottom line.

Coke sells about 6 million cases of volume per year to Papa Johns, a fraction of its overall volume of 5 billion cases annually, reported the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.

Coke still holds a dominant position in the U.S. food service industry, being the primary supplier for the two largest chains, McDonald’s Corp and Subway.

Beverage Digest, estimated in July that Coke has 70% of the U.S. food service fountain business.

Shares of both Coke and Pepsi were up about 0.5% in recent trading, though Coke has outperformed its rival over the past year.

Papa John’s shares, meanwhile, were up 0.7% in recent trading to $35.74.

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