Diet Coke in Short Supply? Coca-Cola Reports Coronavirus Caused Delays …
A report from Coca-Cola at the end of February announced that the coronavirus outbreak has delayed Chinese exports of artificial sweetener, a key ingredient in diet and zero sugar drinks.
In its annual financial report, the company noted that the production of sodas like Diet Coke and Coca-Cola Zero could be impacted by the ongoing health crisis.
This delay in supply comes two months after another financial hit for Coca-Cola, when the theater chain Regal announced that it was opting for Pepsi, not Coke, to be the exclusive provider of non-alcoholic beverages in its American theaters.
According to the report, Coca-Cola is working to find alternatives to its sweeteners and implement health measures to prevent further delays.
In order to make its drinks, Coca-Cola typically uses a number of different artificial sweeteners produced in China, including aspartame, acesulfame potassium, sucralose, saccharin, cyclamate, and steviol glycosides.
As of right now, the production and distribution of the artificial sweeteners have only been put on hold – but the delay could worsen if coronavirus continues to spread.
“We have initiated contingency supply plans and do not foresee a short-term impact due to these delays,” the company said. “However, we may see tighter supplies of some of these ingredients in the longer term should production or export operations in China deteriorate.”
One of the alternatives Coca-Cola is considering to keep up production is a sweetener called sucralose – Splenda – which the company has previously used in its low sugar and sugar-free drinks, like Diet Coke.
In the interim, Coca-Cola has made clear that it will take extra health and safety precautions at production sites in China.
The company has imposed precautionary measures including distributing face masks to staff, making sure hand sanitizers are publicly available, installing temperature screenings in all offices and facilities, and implementing “health monitoring mechanisms” in its factories throughout China.
“The safety and health of the company’s associates remains a high priority,” Coca-Cola said.
Source: International Business Times