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Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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The Dark Side of Diversification: Coca Cola’s Move into Agriculture

Coca Cola, in its recent announcement of entering the agriculture sector, illustrates how capitalism and greed can intermix to the detriment of society and industry. While the corporation may justify that the diversification of investments is necessary to support its brand, the implications for the agriculture industry and farmers, as well as consumers’ health, cannot be ignored.

In 2013, Coca-Cola made a commitment to purchase approximately $2 billion of oranges produced by 25,000 acres of new groves in Florida. Partnering with Cutrale Citrus Juices and Peace River Citrus Products, this collaboration is estimated to add more than 4,100 direct and indirect jobs to the state’s economy over the next two decades. According to the Florida Department of Citrus, Coca-Cola’s investment will enable growers to plant these orange trees and procure all of the fruit harvested from them.

“Citrus is synonymous with Florida, but the industry has faced many challenges in recent years, particularly the growing threat of citrus greening,” said Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam. “With Coca-Cola’s generous investment towards supporting 25,000 acres of new orange groves in Central Florida, the citrus industry and our state’s entire economy will benefit.”

The Coca-Cola Company has played an active role in the Florida citrus industry since purchasing Minute Maid® in 1960. The company currently operates 26 facilities throughout the state which employs 6,100 associates. Over the last five years alone it has invested more than $400 million in its operations within Florida. Most recently, the Auburndale facility underwent a significant expansion which created 129 new jobs and increased warehouse space for its Simply® juices range.

Fast forward to today….

Coca Cola is a novice in the agricultural sector, and its entry is likely to disrupt an industry already facing immense duress. Small-scale farmers operate in a highly competitive environment where they face several difficulties, such as low prices and barriers to innovation. Coca Cola’s expansion into agriculture may lead to the absorption of small farmers and environmental exploitations, thereby further limiting vulnerability amidst the complexity of the agriculture sector.

What’s more, the agriculture industry already has a significant impact on the environment, and the entry of Coca Cola aggravates the potential harm of exploiting ecological ecosystems by increasing commodity chains’ complexity. The massive impact on agriculture could lead to the perpetuation of exploiting vulnerable populations and continuing the proliferation of environmentally harmful methods.

The impact on consumers must not be neglected. Sustainability and health implications of Coca Cola’s products have been called into question, ranging from high sugar content, chemical compositions, and artificial sweeteners inherent in their popular beverage line. Coca Cola’s leverage in the agriculture industry may lead to reduced competition and lack of quality control, leading to consumers’ potential compromise in the name of profiteering.

In conclusion, the move by Coca Cola into the agriculture sector aligns with the precepts of capitalism and greed. The implications of such motives from the corporation may lead to severe socioeconomic and health implications for the US population. It is vital that Coca Cola reconsider its move and that regulators address the impact of large corporations’ monopolization on society and the environment.

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