Public health impacts of UC Berkeley’s contract with PepsiCo

One of the major reasons we are demanding for the termination of the contract between PepsiCo and UC Berkeley, is because of the largely unhealthy products that PepsiCo markets towards students on campus. The 85% shelf space currently detailed in the contract requires that UC Berkeley reserves 85% of its space in campus dining facilities to hold a variety of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs). There have been a multitude of studies that demonstrate the adverse health effects of regular SSB consumption.

One 2011 study in particular showed that drinking 1 or more SSBs per day leads to an 83% increase in risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, compared to individuals who consume less than 1 SSB per month (1). SSBs are also the only source of food/drink that has been shown to have a direct cause and effect relationship with obesity (2). Continuing to retail such beverages on campus opposes the University Health Services commitment to support healthy eating via its Be Well at Cal program (3).

Currently, UC Berkeley’s on-campus dining options are stacked with PepsiCo options that primarily consist of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) and unhealthy snacks. The abundance of SSBs on campus as a result of the soda marketing contract between UC Berkeley and PepsiCo poses an alarming health risk for both students and faculty and goes against UC Berkeley’s commitment to keep retail “shelf space [stocked] with ‘Healthier Beverages’ at 70% or greater, and ‘Sugar-Sweetened and Less Healthy Beverages’ at 30% or less,” (4).

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