McD's Ends Bottled Pepsi Test in Favor of Coca-Cola

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McD's Ends Bottled Pepsi Test in Favor of Coca-Cola

OAK BROOK, Ill. -- McDonald's Corp. ended test sales of PepsiCo Inc.'s bottled Mountain Dew and Gatorade, handing a victory to Coca-Cola Co., the exclusive fountain-drink provider to the restaurant chain, The Associated Press reported.

McDonald's began testing bottled beverages in 2006 to see if they could boost soft-drink sales. PepsiCo products were dropped from the test in July 2008, PepsiCo spokesman Larry Jabbonsky said, calling the test "a great opportunity and a great learning experience."

The fast-feeder’s decision defuses a threat to Coca-Cola's five-decade relationship with McDonald's, its largest customer. The chain introduced non-Coca-Cola drinks because it deemed bottled products outside its exclusive fountain agreement with Coca-Cola, which was sealed with a handshake in 1955 and no written contract, the AP reported.

McDonald's is still testing bottled products from Coca-Cola to attract customers seeking a wider selection of beverages, such as sports drinks and teas, and the convenience of a resealable bottle at the drive-through window. McDonald's tested bottled drinks in a fraction of its nearly 14,000 U.S. restaurants, including some in the Kansas City metropolitan area and College Station, Texas.

"We continue to work with other national and regional beverage companies -- including Coca-Cola -- to identify a variety of fountain and bottled beverage options that will meet our customers' preferences," Danya Proud, a McDonald's spokeswoman, said in an e-mailed statement to the AP.