Soft drinks supply chain

For over two hundred years, the art of producing carbonated beverages has developed resulting in its various forms that were intended to respond to the needs of its customers. Through its evolution, it has covered various economies of the nation’s industries as key sources of materials and services in the manufacturing of soft drinks.

This meant that as the soft drink industry grew, the other industries in the soft drink supply chain grew as well. These industries in the supply chain are the manufacturers of artificial sweetening agent, edible acids, natural or artificial flavors, and other key ingredients that the industry needs in its manufacture of soft drinks. Machinery and packaging services also benefited from the soft drink industry’s success.

In the face of the challenges of conforming to the ever changing needs of the customers throughout its history, the soft drink industry have introduced different packagings, from glass bottles with corresponding cork crowns, soft drink cartons called ‘Hom-Paks’ in the 1920’s, aluminum cans, plastic bottles and today, the use of PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) bottles. Also together with these changes, the manufacturers of soft drinks amended their syrup mixture to surmount the rising cost of its key materials.

Major changes were made on its sweetening agents to counter the rising cost of sugar and to conform to consumer’s approval. From Saccharin to Nutra-Sweet, now corn syrup replaced sugar as an ingredient to soft drinks. The Issue of Pesticide Content in Soft Drinks In the August 10, 2006 news article of The Times of India, reports were made that after coming out from a cabinet meeting of the state’s Left Democratic Front (LDF) government, Kerala’s Marxist Achuthanandan said, “Neither Coke nor Pepsi can manufacture or sell their products in Kerala.

Their licenses are being scrapped as well” (Surendran, 2006). Although LDF has been hostile towards the two multinational companies due to the over-extraction of groundwater by their bottling plants in Palakkad, it was the Centre for Science and Environment’s (CSE) campaign against alleged pesticide residues in colas produced and sold in India by Coke and Pepsi that has influenced the pronouncement.

Though the cola producers might have not directly applied pesticide to the crops and instead, the traced pesticide residues might have come from the groundwater as seepage from other plants to which chemical have been applied, the fact remains that there is pesticide in the colas that are being used in Coca Cola production in India. In the latest news regarding traces of pesticides in colas in India, Sunita Naraian, a director of the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) and a New Delhi-based NGO, said that “the government’s own committee had found pesticides in the products” before the Supreme Court.

She further maintains that the government must agree to fix a mandatory standard for the drinks (Surendran, 2006). Conclusion In the beginning, soda’s or soft drinks were the natural choice preferred by drinkers because they equated bubbly drinks to wellness of health. But as time progressed, various additions and revisions have been made to soft drinks, which tickled the palates of its drinkers such as changing the sweetening agents and enhancing its appearance and packaging.

These are the factors that cannot be found in water which makes millions of its drinkers prefer sodas or soft drinks over water, or any other noncarbonated beverage. Further, too many of its drinkers formed the habit of consuming it because of the addictive properties contained by some of its ingredients, thus resulting in the continuous patronage of the product regardless of the health problems found to have been caused by consuming it.

The manufacturing processes involved in the production of sodas or soft drinks have changed in various ways too, from backyard operation to the modern soft drink industry operation. Although primitive to our standards today, the owners back then used to make the final products by themselves and were in close contact with their customers to check for comments or criticisms and to make necessary actions accordingly before the final product is produced.

In modern times, the syrup mixture is produced by the soft drink companies and then delivered to the independent bottling companies all over the world that are licensed to sell the drink. One problem that faces the industry and questions the above-explained practices of soft drink companies is the issue of the pesticide residue in colas, which are used to produce soft drinks in India. Since there is no ample supply of safe drinking water in India and companies have to get underground water to supply their production needs, there comes a problem of quality soft drink production.

Since underground water is susceptible to pesticide seepage, due in part from the agricultural practices of this region, the ingredients for making soft drinks becomes susceptible to pesticide contamination as well. Here is one specific display of the effects of soft drinks in the food web. Since the primary producers, which are the plants that produce the key ingredients for the soft drinks formula are contaminated by pesticide, so will the soft drinks be affected.

These soft drinks will then be consumed by people and in some cases, by pet animals. Since pesticide causes harm to the human body, it can be said that its consumption can be detrimental to human beings as a whole. This is true not only for the case of pesticide content in soft drinks in specific, but also for the other empirically proven problems that soft drink could be causing to the health of human beings such as obesity, diabetes, cancer, liver cirrhosis, osteoporosis, and many more.

When human beings incur diseases due to soft drink consumption, or worse when human beings die untimely, a crucial element of the food web is taken away. It could be said that human beings are the largest consumers in the food web. In view of the worse case scenario, take them away from the system and the entire system could collapse. In a more simplistic term, soft drink consumption affects the food web because soft drinks become more preferred substitutes to the natural products of the food web such as milk, water, natural fruit juice, and even for solid food.

Thus, when human beings deviate from their natural consumption pattern in terms of the food web because of soft drink consumption, the entire food web could be altered too. On a lighter note, soft drink companies have been aware that people aspire to have a healthy body. Reports linking sodas or soft drinks to obesity and to many other grave diseases are causing concern for both consumers and the makers of soft drinks. These propelled external agents to make guidelines for soft drink production, to which soda or soft drinks companies hope to comply by marketing ‘healthy sodas’.

Observably, this is why the trend now is to fortify soft drinks with minerals and vitamins. However, it must still come into question whether or not these healthy options really do eliminate or minimize the negative effects of soft drink consumption in the human body, and thus in the food web too. Whatever warnings concerned organizations give to soft drink consumers against soft drink consumption, it still boils down for the public to decide whether they will continue patronizing and consuming soft drinks or not.

And in as much that there has been an advent of the so-called ‘healthy options’ nowadays, there comes a need for people to develop ‘healthy decisions’.

References

American Association for State and Local History, Society of American Historians (1947). American Heritage. (pp. 11-12). New York, N. Y. : American Heritage Pub. Co. Bellis, M. (2007). The History of Pepsi Cola – Caleb Bradham. Retrieved March 31, 2007 from http://inventors. about. com/library/inventors/blpepsi. htm