Coronavirus outbreak: Coke Zero, Diet Coke supplies at risk due to COVID-19

Coronavirus outbreak: Coke Zero, Diet Coke supplies may run out due to impact on supply of artificial sweeteners.
Photo credit: Getty

Fans of Coke Zero and Diet Coke may have another reason to worry about coronavirus - the deadly outbreak might mean supplies of the popular drinks run out.

The Coca-Cola Company said it is experiencing "delays in the production and export" of artificial sweeteners sourced from China due to the COVID-19 outbreak that could lead to "tighter supplies" in an annual report released this week.

However, a New Zealand spokesperson says Kiwi customers have nothing to worry about.

"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," Coca-Cola said in the 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."

A spokesperson for Coca-Cola Amatil New Zealand told Newshub: "This story relates to the American market. This is not the case in New Zealand."

"We are confident in our supply chain as we have limited sourcing from China and there will not be any impact on Kiwi consumers."

Coronavirus isn't just affecting Coca-Cola through its supply of artificial sweeteners, either.

China is Coca-Cola's third-largest market for unit case volume and as with countless international companies, the outbreak is impacting on its bottom line.

"While we currently expect this business disruption to be temporary, there is uncertainty around its duration and its broader impact, and therefore the effects it will have on our business," the report said.

"However, based on our current expectations, we believe this disruption will negatively impact our unit case volume and financial results for the first quarter of 2020. At this time, we do not expect this disruption to have a significant impact on our full-year 2020 unit case volume or financial results."

Nigel Green, CEO of financial services firm deVere Group, said on Wednesday the coronavirus may bring the world "to the brink of a global recession" this year.