A penchant for Coca-Cola
Joy Angelica Subido, Joy Angelica Subido Karla Alindahao (The Philippine Star) - December 12, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - My Coca-Cola memories span many years and many seasons. But right about now when Christmas is around the corner, I have happy childhood recollections of how we used to pour the drink into shot glasses and have drinking parties with our own six- to eight-year-old age group. This was while the adults imbibed more potent stuff.

As we got older and the invisible horns of rebellion against authority grew from our hard heads, we discovered that the beverage had more interesting incarnations. It became the chaser to more evil brews, its portions decreasing as the tolerance levels for alcohol grew. 

Thus, nowadays it amuses me that we prefer Coca-Cola in its original form. Similar to the Greek story of the Sphinx’s riddle of the Three Ages of Man, we are where we originally started — back to enjoying Coca-Cola in its wholesome, unadulterated form. It is funny to note that some things stay the same.  As when we were kids, we are able to manage, even now, a loud and satisfying burp after a nice, long draught of this favorite drink.  

For sure, Coca-Cola is one of those iconic brands that require no introduction. Its popularity has transcended generations and nationalities so that the preference for the drink can be described as “love in any language.” The fondness for the drink is so extensive that even Coca-Cola collectibles such as old bottles, trays, clocks, toys and whatnot have an avid following.

In January of this year, Coca-Cola FEMSA was established in the Philippines when FEMSA acquired 51 percent of Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines, Inc. from The Coca-Cola Company. Coca-Cola FEMSA is a subsidiary of FEMSA (Fomento Económico Mexicano, SAB de CV), “the largest public bottler of Coca-Cola products in the world in terms of sales volume, accounting for one out of every 10 Coca-Cola products sold globally.”

We are told that worldwide, “it serves more than 100 refreshing beverage brands through a network of over 2.5 million points of sale to close to 315 million consumers in nine Latin American countries and the Philippines.”

Locally, Coca-Cola FEMSA operates 20 plants, has 40 distribution centers and supplies 92 million customers, with about 500 million cases sold every year. The beverage brands bottled by the company include Coke, Coke Light, Coke Zero, Royal, Sprite, Sarsi, Pop, Sparkle, Schweppes, Minute Maid, Hi-C, Real Leaf, Samurai, Powerade, Eight O’Clock, Wilkins, Wilkins Pure and Viva.

Visiting the Coca-Cola FEMSA plant in Laguna recently, we found out that the company has installed water and energy conservation initiatives, safety programs and environment best-practices systems. This has resulted in significantly reduced water use and a decrease in water-use ratio. We are told that Coca Cola FEMSA has a sustainability strategy that incorporates “a series of skilled mechanisms with education, innovation, the promotion of public policies, the establishment of multi-sectoral joint ventures, investment and volunteer work.

The recent news that Coca-Cola suspended its advertising campaign to be able to donate its ad budget to the victims of Typhoon Yolanda, and the new things we learned about Coca-Cola during the plant tour, makes the drink even more palatable.

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