A Day with Coke: From the Plant to the People11:02 PM
There is not a single reference in the world that would tell you the exact formula to make a refreshing bottle of Coke. This, even if you would turn Google upside down. Even on our visit to the FEMSA (Fomento Economico Mexicano S.A.B de C.V.) plant in Mandaue City in Cebu where we saw the manufacturing of our favorite drink up close, the ingredients of the Coca-Cola mixture remains top secret.
This is the same reason why no one can accurately measure the negative effects of Coke in one's health. Like everything we put into our body, too much intake of Coke isn't advisable. But how bad is it? Coca Cola FEMSA Philippines CEO Fabricio Ponce said, Coke is 99% water, which would make it safe if consumed in moderation.
But how cool is it to watch some behind the scenes of a product you spent the most time with your family with? The plant tour has been a great experience and I had it documented with the photos below.
With 19 plants and more than 60 sales offices in the Philippines, Coca Cola FEMSA is the current leading manufacturer and franchise holder of Coke in the Philippines. The plant we visited in Mandaue City is one of the biggest and is the first plant made outside Metro Manila. That makes Coke Mandaue 75 years old but it has still maintained its pro-environment water treatment facility which sends clean water back to our rivers and seas after being used in the plant. Now that's corporate responsibility.
Here they make Coca-Cola's signature products, Coke, Royal and Sprite. It was amazing to know that they can manufacture as much as 600 bottles, not per hour, but per minute! That' how huge the demand is and that's how efficient the Mandaue plant is in meeting what the market requires.
From the plant, we also visited the FEMSA Distribution Center in Consolacion town, still in Cebu. Here they highlighted the level of safety they provide to their employees. The distribution centers are crucial for it safe-keeps the products and determines which areas to send the products to.
Our team where then divided into three groups where we met with long-time coke distributors. What's Coke gonna be without sari-sari stores, right? I do think that soft drinks, as how we call it, are mostly purchased on sari-sari stores and bakeries and small canteens in our villages. I only know a few friends who purchases Coke products by bulk from the grocery store.
A 30-minute drive away to nearby Liloan town, we met Lola Tagala, a loyal Coke seller. She left Manila to try life in Cebu (thus the name, Lola Tagala, the local's endearment for a female Tagalog) where she survived the past three decades selling Coke products. Lola Tagala said that Coke is such a commodity, she doesn't need to overprice to earn. She explains how Coke has been a part of every family and community activities in their area which keeps her business afloat.
Coca Cala FEMSA said that they've been in the Philippines for more than 70 years yet it is the first time for them to welcome the media and bloggers to their facility. They said it's their way to show to people how they continue to take care of their employees, their partner retailers and the environment, proving further that the beverage is no longer just a product. It has become of our daily lives. :)
I made 2-minute video below to give you a glimpse of our day in Cebu with Coke: from the plant to the local sellers.