The COVID-19 outbreak, also known as the coronavirus, has had such an impact that it is now threatening the shortage of the popular beverage Diet Coke, according to a report by MSN.
As of this week, the coronavirus has infected more than 81,900 people in 41 countries. Since December, there have been an estimated 2,770 deaths attributed to the outbreak that started in China. The epidemic has disrupted many businesses and has led to the temporary closure of several restaurants and retailers in China. Many companies have started issuing statements regarding possible financial hits due to shuttered stores and supply chain delays.
Coca-Cola recently confirmed that certain ingredients used in its diet soft drinks have been affected by the viral outbreak.
“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,” according to its annual report. “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.”
In a statement, Coca-Cola said, “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.
“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.
“China ranks as the third-largest market in the world for the Coca-Cola Company in terms of unit case volume. The company sees great opportunities in this important market and will continue to invest for long-term growth.”