I was one of the not so lucky people who have not experience a tour at a Coca-Cola Plant during my high school years. Yeah, it's a bummer! We were supposed to have a field trip to the plant but it got cancelled so the idea of getting to taste an ice cold Coke fresh off the bottling line remained just a thought for many years. So, when I got invited to be a part of a media tour at the plant, I did not hesitate and said, yes!
Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines ranked 10th among the largest Coca-Cola Bottlers in the world, the only nation outside South America in the top 10. It offers 18 FDA-approved brands with a wide product variants selection spread throughout the country.
And so the journey begins...
Our first stop was at the Coca-Cola FEMSA Davao Plant, where the journey of a bottle begins. The Davao plant was established in May 1950 an was moved to its current location along Mac Arthur highway in Barangay Ulas in 1974 which occupies 3.8 hectares. The plant has the capability to produce about 1.1M gallons of beverage annually.
Just like in any other plant tours, before we commenced our media tour, we were briefed by Cat Avelino, Coca-Cola FAMSA's External Communications & CSR Manager about the company's values and how it remained the top choice by many Filipinos when it comes to soft drinks.
How the Coca-Cola is made?
The bottling process starts from the preparation of the raw materials, ingredients (basically composed of water, sweeteners, and natural flavors), then onto the bottle washer where the bottles are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized, filled, capped, and inspected using state-of-the-art equipment and the strictest quality control measures. Bottles that pass the stringent quality control are then put into crates and brought to the warehouse for immediate dispatch.
Now that it's bottled, where are those Coca-Cola products go?
After the filled bottles are put into crates, they are delivered to the distribution center where they are tagged and loaded to the trucks in accordance to the customers order for a certain day. They are being dispatched for delivery to retail establishments.
Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines has two distribution centers serving Southern Mindanao area, employing 395 associates and providing beverage requirements close to 80,000 establishments.
A Taste of Success
Most of the establishments supported by Coca-Cola FEMSA are small to medium enteprises (SMEs) sari-sari stores and carinderias or eateries.
One of them is Nanay Vangie, owner of Vangie Eatery , a thriving carinderia in Bangkal, Davao City. Nanay Vangie started small 30 years ago and grew her business eventually into a bigger outlet today.
Nanay Vangie is an exclusive Coca-Cola outlet since she started her business. From just four dishes and two carinderia tables, she now offers 40 types of dishes and serve more than 100 customers a day. Her carinderia mainly caters to local residents in the area as well as students and office workers in the vicinity who are looking for a meal and a cold drink.
She is grateful for the support she received from Coca-Cola sales executive assigned to her for guiding her and keeping her business on track. With the success of her business, she was able to send her children to school.
"Coca-Cola plays a major role in my family's life as it helped us get through the day from our daily expenses, sending my children to schools, among other expenses," she said.
Nanay Vangie has five children, three of which are now young professionals.
The journey doesn't end
More than its world-class quality and satisfying taste, a Coca-Cola and all the other beverages produced by Coca-Cola FEMSA, is actually made of so much more. It's made out of love, dedication, and happiness by the more than 10,000 people in 19 plants and close to 60 sales offices across the Philippines.
So the next time you open a bottle of Coke, remember that it is more than the fizzy drink you have loved for so many years. It is the result of the hard work and dedication of thousands.