THE bottling facility of Pepsi-Cola Products Philippines Inc. in Bacolod City is using 100 percent local sugar in its beverages, officials said on Friday, August 11.
During a fellowship with the media at the Sugarland Hotel, company executives said they continue to support the industry as they are the number one patron of domestic sugar.
Citing the data from Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA), Pepsi vice president for legal Jun Manuel Lope, in a presentation, said that in 2016, they purchased three times more local sugar than its closest competitor despite the huge gap in volume and market share.
Pepsi continues to surpass all its competitors in patronizing the local sugar industry, Lope said.
“Our history of local sugar purchases is testimony to our unwavering commitment to support our local sugar industry,” he added.
Lope said they utilized 2.3 million 50-kilo bags of sugar from August 2016 to July this year.
“We have already booked our requirements until December this year and might extend until first quarter next year, depending on the actual consumption,” he said.
Lope said the company has guaranteed contracts for 2 million 50-kilo bags from August 2018 to August 2019.
The volume is withdrawn in monthly tranches, he added.
“As we continue our patronage of locally sourced sugar, we hope to build a stronger and more meaningful partnership with the sugar industry,” he said.
Lope said Pepsi officials met with sugar leaders the other day to reiterate their commitment to the industry.
“We talked about how to partner in the future...how tow to move forward, how to help the industry,” he said.
Pepsi officials admitted they were “worried” after sugar leaders called to boycott their products for allegedly using high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
Industry leaders said that Pepsi is the second biggest importer of HFCS next to rival Coca-Cola.
The unabated importation of HFCS as alternative sweetener has led to the massive drop of sugar prices, they reiterated.
Pepsi vice president for corporate communications Jikka Dalupan said they were relieved that the boycott was lifted after two or three days because industry leaders saw their commitment in buying local sugar.
“There was a huge sigh of relief in our end, the boycott was only shortlived,” she added.
Dalupan admitted that “the boycott got us worried, but we’re confident in our purchases and commitment.”
She said their sales weren’t affected during the boycott because “we were able to explain our side.”
Pepsi Bacolod general manager Delfin Dizon said they are committed to use sugar.
“We will not entertain any drop of HFCS in Bacolod plant,” he added.
When the sugar leaders called to boycott Pepsi products, they weren’t affected because they are using 100 percent local sugar, he said.
Pepsi vice president and senior general manager of Visayas Lyndon Cuadra said only Bacolod of the 13 plants nationwide is using 100 percent local sugar, which represents 9 to 10 percent of the total consumption.
“Bacolod is the only plant which cannot produce using HFCS, it is purely sugar. Our other plants, they are capable of producing products with HFCS,” he said.
However, Cuadra said they have no HFCS importation anymore after the SRA issued an order regulating its entry.
Lope said the ratio of HFCS and local sugar in their products in other plants is 70 to 30, respectively, last year, adding that “it is still a very impressive number.”
Published in the SunStar Bacolod newspaper on August 12, 2017.
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