Coronavirus likely to cause Diet Coke, Coke Zero shortage as supply of Chinese artificial sweeteners is delayed

'We have initiated contingency supply plans and do not foresee a short-term impact due to these delays,' the soft drink giant has said


                            Coronavirus likely to cause Diet Coke, Coke Zero shortage as supply of Chinese artificial sweeteners is delayed
(Getty Images)

The impact of the deadly coronavirus outbreak is already being felt in our day-to-day lives. Coca-Cola products in the US could face shortages in inventory after reports that the deadly virus has disrupted the soft-drink giant's supply chain.

If the virus continues to wreak havoc, artificial sweeteners sourced from China could be in shorter supply considering the outbreak has directly impacted their export logistics.

Pallets of Coke-Cola Zero cans wait to the filled at a Coco-Cola bottling plant on February 10, 2017, in Salt Lake City, Utah (Getty Images)

According to CNN, Coke's supply of sugar substitutes used in its diet and zero-calorie drinks has been delayed in the US. 

"We have initiated contingency supply plans and do not foresee a short-term impact due to these delays," Coca-Cola wrote on Monday in its annual report. "However, we may see tighter supplies of some of these ingredients in the longer term should production or export operations in China deteriorate."

That said, Australia's supply chain is reportedly not affected by the outbreak.

Coca-Cola uses artificial sweeteners to use in its diet sodas. These include aspartame, acesulfame potassium, sucralose, saccharin, cyclamate, and steviol glycosides — which are mostly sourced from China.

But it's unclear the shipping of which sweeteners were affected by the coronavirus.

However, Coke emphasized in a statement that the safety and wellbeing of their associates are of utmost 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," the statement read.  

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Coca-Cola Australia said they were confident that there would be no impact on Australian markets.

"We are confident in our supply chain as we have limited sourcing from China and there will not be any impact on Australian consumers," he said. "As a matter of routine, we maintain business continuity plans throughout the world including maintaining alternative procurement sources in other regions of the world."

The soda giant has predicted their sale volumes could go down by at least 2 to 3 percentage points due to the epidemic.

The coronavirus has killed more than 2,700 and infected over 80,000 in mainland China after originating from the city of Wuhan.

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