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Too much Coca Cola is not acceptable to all

News in brief - Date: 19 July 2020

Written by: Bernard Chiguvare / Viewed: 7289


Customers are quick to complain about not getting full value for their money, but what about customers complaining about getting “too much”? This is exactly what happened in Louis Trichardt when a customer complained about his Coke bottles being “filled to the brim”.

A couple of weeks ago, Richard Mugeri from Ramahantsha village in Madombidzha bought four cases of 1,5 litre Coca Cola from Palm Wholesalers in Louis Trichardt. Mugeri runs his own business and he sells the soft drinks to his customers. He later realised that two of the bottles had been filled to the brim. “My customers do not like to buy such soft drinks,” he said.

When Mugeri tried to return the bottles of cooldrink, he encountered resistance, as the wholesaler was not keen to exchange a product that does not seem to be faulty. Charlie Barnard, the wholesaler manager, said she explained to Mugeri that nothing was wrong with the bottles of cold drink. She explained that it might happen that some bottles get filled to a higher level in the factory, but this does not affect the product.

Mugeri did not accept the explanation of Palm Wholesalers and still feels that such products should just be exchanged, and the overfilled bottles should be sent back to the factory.

The practice of not filling cold drink bottles to the brim seems to stem from two main factors. The first reason is that the small bit of air allows expansion of the liquid, which eases tension on the seal. (This may have been more relevant in older bottling processes). The second reason is more obvious. Because of soda drinks’ expanding when the cap is opened, a bottle filled to the brink may cause spillages.

Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (Pty) Ltd (“CCBSA”) was asked whether bottles filled to the brim were safe for consumption and why it happened that seemingly overfilled bottles ended up in the market.

“The quality and safety of our products and packaging is of the utmost importance to us. CCBSA has stringent processes in place to monitor the volume of all of our products,” said the soft drinks supplier in a statement. “CCBSA has an on-line fill level detection system which is set to reject underfilled bottles. However, on rare occasions, a few over-filled bottles do pass through our line, mainly due to unforeseen line stoppages. Instead of emptying these over-filled products, CCBSA prefers to rather give the consumer the benefit of the extra millilitres and releases such products into trade.”

CCBSA assured consumers that the products purchased were sealed and safe for human consumption.  “All the methods used in the manufacturing process of our beverages comply with all relevant health and safety regulations and adhere to the strict standards of our industry,” CCBSA said.


Richard  Mugeri from Ramahantsha village with the two bottles of Coca Cola that were filled to the brim.



Bernard Chiguvare

Bernard Chiguvare is a Zimbabwean-born journalist. He writes mainly for the online publication, Groundup.


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