PHILIPPINES – Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines Inc. (CCBPI) has warned that the beverage industry needs at least 450,000 metric tons of premium refined bottler grade sugar to be able to operate at full capacity for the rest of the year.

The Philippines bottler and distributor of Coca-Cola products added that food and beverage manufacturers need premium refined sugar to maintain high-quality products.

In a statement, CCBPI said: “We have shared with the President that the industry needs at least 450,000 MT of premium refined bottler grade sugar to utilize 100 percent of its manufacturing capacity for the balance of the year and serve the orders of customers who are depending on our products for their sales and income.”

Although grateful to President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. for immediate action in addressing the shortage of premium refined sugar, Coca-Cola said manufacturers need a different kind of sugar.

The type of sugar the manufacturers are looking for is not the same sugar that is commonly used in households.

In addition, the beverage giant revealed that there is approximately a 400,000-metric-ton gap on top of a starting gap of 200,000 metric tons of the local sugar supply for 2022 based on the projected demand of 2.3 million metric tons for 2022 for the entire country.

Along with many other companies in the Philippine food and beverage industry beset by the difficulties brought on by the sugar shortage, Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines Inc. is in the midst of implementing various efforts aimed at cushioning the business impact of the lack of premium refined sugar supply.

Coca-Cola Corporate and Regulatory Affairs Director Jorenz Tañada noted that the company was forced to cut down its production by 30 to 40 percent because of the shortage of its primary ingredient, sugar.

With the persisting shortage, the bottler has highlighted intentions to let go some of its employees or be allowed to exercise direct import of the ingredient.  

The bottlers’ statement came amidst the controversial issuance of Sugar Order No. 4 (SO4), authorizing the importation of 300,000 metric tons of sugar which was later on deemed “illegal”.

Meanwhile, the Coca-Cola plant in Naga City, Camarines Sur, has suspended its operations due to the lack of supply of bottler’s grade sugar, as a result of the ongoing sugar crisis.

The company has stated that there is foreseen lack of soft drinks in the country since many more plants are also depleting their stock of the ingredient, which calls for immediate action from the government.

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