Subway Makes Brave Move to Ditch Coca-Cola

By: Julia Mehalko | Published: Mar 28, 2024

Subway has announced a new change that will impact all of its locations in the United States. The sandwich restaurant will now only offer Pepsi products, rather than their usual Coca-Cola drinks.

This switch comes as Pepsi and Coke’s ongoing battle continues after first igniting more than 100 years ago.

Subway Switches to Pepsi

According to Subway, their new deal with PepsiCo will last for 10 years. The shift from Coke to Pepsi products won’t be seen in locations in the United States until January 1, 2025.

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A close-up of a blue Pepsi can that is outside on a surface during a rain storm.

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Now, all U.S. Subways will offer Pepsi drinks, rather than Coca-Cola options. These new drinks will include Pepsi, Pepsi Zero Sugar, Tropicana, Aquafina, MTN DEW, Lipton, Starry, and various kinds of Gatorade.

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A “Rare Shift”

Many business analysts have already opened up about Subway’s huge change in drink products, mainly because it’s a move that has surprised many. Often, these types of changes don’t occur in huge establishments.

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An open sign by a Subway logo sign seen in the evening when it is dark.

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Restaurant Business Online is even calling it a “rare shift.” Pepsi and Coca-Cola have long had a war against one another, though it appears Pepsi has come out on top where Subway is concerned.

Other Subway Locations

This new PepsiCo deal is only affecting Subway locations in the United States. However, Pepsi is also the only drink provider for Subway in various countries around the world. So, a relationship has already been developed between Subway and Pepsi.

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A person walking past a green and yellow Subway location.

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PepsiCo supplies beverages to Subways in Canada, the Netherlands, the Nordics, and Germany. Now, the United States can be included in this list.

Subway’s Long History With Coke

This shock move is surprising for a slew of reasons — most notably, that Subway has long been partnered with Coca-Cola. For almost 20 years now, Coke has been the only beverage provider for the sandwich restaurant.

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A close-up of someone pouring a Coke into a clear glass.

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Now, that decades-long business relationship is ending with Subway’s new agreement with PepsiCo. In 2003, the restaurant signed a 15-year deal with Coke. However, when the deal closed in 2018, Pepsi products began to appear at Subway locations again.

A New Milestone

Doug Fry, the President of Subway in North America, opened up about this new partnership the restaurant has made.

A green, white, and yellow Subway sign against a blue sky.

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“The partnership with PepsiCo is an exciting milestone in our journey to become America’s favorite place to eat, drink and work,” Fry said. “It is a win-win for everyone, as it brings a delicious suite of beverage and snack choices to our guests, driving additional consideration of these menu items, while also providing cost-effective, streamlined solutions to our franchisees.”

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Pepsi’s Win

Anne Fink, the President of PepsiCo Global Foodservice, also released a statement about this new agreement.

Many Pepsi cans on a surface, with a close-up on a titled blue can.

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“The agreement with Subway represents two iconic companies coming together to further their commitment to delivering operational excellence and driving breakthrough innovation for consumers across the U.S.,” Fink said. “Together, we’re elevating the consumer experience with dynamic beverage and snack offerings — including those that appeal to a broad spectrum of consumers — bringing new flavors to Subway fans in a powerful way.”

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Subway’s Deal With Frito-Lay

Subway also recently announced that their ongoing deal with Frito-Lay would continue into 2030, as the deal was extended.

Many bags of chips, including Cheetos and Lays.

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PepsiCo owns the Frito-Lay brand. Therefore, PepsiCo is now heavily involved with Subway with these two separate deals that have recently been made.

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The End of Coca-Cola at Subway

Thus, this news marks the end of the decades-long business relationship between Coke and Subway. A Coca-Cola representative released a statement about this fact after Subway’s new reveal.

A person touching the top of a classic Coca-Cola bottle.

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“For nearly twenty years, The Coca-Cola Company has proudly served Subway restaurants in the U.S. We are committed to serving Subway through the end of this year and will remain focused on delivering value for Subway, their Franchisee Partners, and consumers,” a Coca-Cola representative said in a statement.

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Some Customers Are Furious

Some Subway customers were furious upon learning of this breaking news. To voice their frustrations, they took to social media to blast this business move.

A close-up of red Coca-Cola cans on ice.

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For every person who enjoys a Pepsi product, there is one who prefers a Coke drink. The companies’ war has become one for consumers, as some will never drink from the other brand. “This’ll be a major disincentive to go to Subway,” one person posted on Reddit.

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Pepsi vs. Coke

For more than 100 years now, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have battled it out. Their ongoing war has entered new territory, time and time again. This war affects everything from new products to overall sales, and even the company’s advertising moves.

A building that is painted blue and has Pepsi logos on it, with people sitting on the roof of the building.

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Though Coca-Cola has long been the highest-valued beverage company, 2023 marked the year when analysts began to think that things could change. Many thought that Pepsi would soon take over.

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Soda Partnerships

This feud between Coke and Pepsi has resulted in many restaurants and businesses agreeing to deals where they can only offer either Coke or Pepsi products.

A Coca-Cola fountain soda machine next to a Pepsi one in a restaurant.

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In 2023, Culver’s revealed that they would only provide Coke beverages, rather than their normal Pepsi. Domino’s in Australia did the opposite when they announced they were switching from Coke to Pepsi in 2017.

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