Coronavirus could affect Coca-Cola's supply of artificial sweetener

FILE - A Diet Coke in a glass bottle is pictured in Bishop Ranch, San Ramon, California. ( Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images )

The coronavirus outbreak could be affecting the soda industry.

Coca-Cola recently announced that, while they have contingency plans in place, the situation in China may impact their long-term supplies of artificial sweeteners used in some of their drinks.

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In its latest annual report, Coca-Cola confirmed that certain ingredients have been affected by the viral outbreak. While the company says it has alternative supply chains to maintain short-term supplies, should the situation continue, issues with the beverages' supply may arise down the road.

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In the report, the company writes, “Our supply chain for non-nutritive sweeteners and certain other ingredients for our products includes suppliers in China. As a result of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, beginning in January 2020, our suppliers in China have experienced some delays in the production and export of these ingredients. We have initiated contingency supply plans and do not foresee a short-term impact due to these delays. However, we may see tighter supplies of some of these ingredients in the longer term should production or export operations in China deteriorate.”

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In a statement to investors released last week, the company addressed the impact of the coronavirus.

“The company’s deepest sympathies go out to those who have been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. The company is carefully following all government guidelines and taking precautionary steps to do what it can to prevent the further spread of the virus. The company is also donating to organizations that are working diligently to support patients and contain the virus.”

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Coca-Cola continued, confirming that the “safety and health of the company’s associates remains a high priority. 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.”