Officials have warned the Coronavirus could spread into the U.S. and it’s about if it will, it’s about when…but the disease has already started to affect American culture because Coca-Cola says it has disrupted the supply chain of Diet Coke.
In Coca-Cola’s annual report, released on Monday, the company pointed out that the coronavirus has disrupted an important part of the supply chain for ingredients of the popular soda.
The company says production and exports have been delayed for sugar alternatives that they used in the zero-sugar drinks.
“We have initiated contingency supply plans and do not foresee a short-term impact due to these delays,” Coca-Cola said in its report.
They continued, “However, we may see tighter supplies of some of these ingredients in the longer term should production or export operations in China deteriorate.”
Coke’s primary artificial sweeteners the company uses in its products include aspartame, acesulfame potassium, sucralose, saccharin, cyclamate, and steviol glycosides.
Unfortunately, several media outlets have inaccurately stated that “Splenda” comes from China. That reporting is inaccurate. To the contrary, Splenda® Brand Original Sweetener, best known for our signature yellow packets, is the zero-calorie sweetener brand millions of people trust every day for quality and great taste and is the only national brand low-calorie sweetener that is 100% made in the USA.
The ingredients in our Splenda yellow packets and pouches are sourced from American-grown agricultural products. Furthermore, our 1,200 employees in Indianapolis, Indiana who carefully package America’s favorite sweetener are very proud of our operations here in the USA. Even the boxes and paper for our Splenda products are made in the USA.
Only yellow sweetener packets with the Splenda name are 100% made in the USA. If your yellow packet doesn’t say Splenda® then it’s not Made in the USA.
As you know, China has the largest outbreak of the virus and is considered the epicenter of the disease. If supply continues to go down from the country Diet Coke could be in short supply.
In the report, the company was not specific in which material is in the shortest supply, but just indicated it may have issues getting them.
On Friday, Coca-Cola also issued a statement about protecting its employees in China, saying, “The safety and health of the company’s associates remains a high priority.”
It continued, “The company has implemented precautionary measures to protect employees in China, which includes providing face masks and hand sanitizers; installing temperature screening in offices and manufacturing facilities; and setting up health monitoring mechanisms across the Coca-Cola system in China.”
How bad is this for the company? It estimates the number of cases produced could drop by 2 to 3 percentage points, and revenue by 1 to 2 percent. Bottom line…with the amount of Diet Coke they produce, it is a lot.
Also, China is Coca-Cola’s third-largest purchaser of the drink.