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Coronavirus could cause Diet Coke shortage

Diet Coke and Coke Zero may soon be hard to find…and more expensive.

According to Coca-Cola, the coronavirus outbreak has delayed the production and exports of the artificial sweeteners used to make the brand’s diet and zero-sugar sodas.

“We have initiated contingency suppy plans and do not foresee a short-term impact due to those delays,” the report said. “We may see tighter supplies of some of these ingredients in the longer term should production or export operations in China deteriorate.”

The main sweeteners that the company uses include aspartame, acesulfame potassium, sucralose, saccharin, cyclamate, and steviol glycosides.

However, Coca-Cola did not specify which sweeteners are being affected, but the company referred to sucralose — the sugar substitute better known as Splenda that is sourced from China — as a “critical raw material” in making Diet Coke and Powerade Zero.

The company also said it is taking measures to ensure the safety of its employees in China by providing materials for proper screening and sanitation, as well as donating to organizations that support patients and contain the virus.

China is Coca-Cola’s third-largest market for unit case volume.

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