(UPDATE) THE Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines Inc. (CCBPI) said 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.
“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,” the CCBPI said in a statement.
It added that food and beverage manufacturers need premium refined sugar to maintain high quality products.
Coca-Cola added that while it is thankful for President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s immediate action in addressing the shortage of premium refined sugar, what manufacturers need is a different kind of sugar.
“We’d like to emphasize, however, that not all sugar is the same. This type of sugar is not the same sugar that is commonly used in households,” it said.
The company said 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, we at Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines Inc. are in the midst of implementing various efforts aimed at cushioning the business impact of the lack of premium refined sugar supply. As always, we are keeping our consumers, customers, and our people front and center,” it added.
“We and the broader industry look forward to continuing to work with the President and all relevant government offices to address the situation and deliver a sustainable solution as we get back to delivering our full line-up of beverages and supporting the country’s economic recovery,” Coca-Cola said.
Agriculture Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban on Monday backed the call of soft drinks manufacturers to allow them to import premium refined bottler grade sugar.
“There is really a shortfall in the supply of sugar used by the soft drinks manufacturers,” Panganiban said in a news briefing.
Coca-Cola Corporate and Regulatory Affairs Director Jorenz Tañada said that the company was forced to cut down its production by 30 to 40 percent because of the sugar shortage.
“To be honest, we decided to cut down our production line by 30 to 40 percent. We cannot produce if the primary ingredient is lacking,” Tañada said in a radio interview.
Tañada said importing sugar will prevent companies from laying off some employees.
“We are appealing to the government. We need to bring sugar in because we do not want to let go of people. Throughout Covid, we made sure everybody kept their jobs,” he added.