Food and drink items that could be affected by CO2 shortages amid fears of empty shelves


Last year the government stepped in to protect supplies of carbon dioxide, which is used in food manufacturing and packaging, but the deal is nearing completion.

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Empty shelves hit stores as people are urged not to panic when buying

Fears are mounting that supermarket shelves may be empty again and more CO2 shortages are expected to hit shoppers.

Supplies of goods that could be affected range from meat products to pressurized soft drinks.

Major food processing operations could also be affected, putting the regular supply of popular products at risk, reports Devon Live.

Stores could have a hard time getting certain products because of a rule change that takes effect today, manufacturers and growers have suggested.

Last year the government stepped in to protect supplies of carbon dioxide, which is used in food manufacturing and packaging, but the deal is about to end.

It agreed a subsidy to US firm CF Fertilisers, which has a UK plant on Teesside, to safeguard production and keep supplies moving, but that deal has ended.

The gas is used for everything from making soft drinks to packaging fresh food and is used in the slaughter of animals for meat.

CO2 is used to bottle and fizz in carbonated soft drinks, cider and beers (file photo)
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Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Within the food and beverage industry, CO2 is used for the humane slaughter of livestock, including pigs and chickens, creating dry ice to keep products chilled in transit, bottling and putting the fizz in carbonated soft drinks, cider and lagers and extending shelf life. shelf life of foods and beverages, such as salads, fresh meats, and poultry.

A spokeswoman for the Food and Drink Federation said: “We are concerned that there will be more CO2 shortages once again. This could lead to a shortage of the products we find on our supermarket shelves, adding further pressure to families already facing high food price inflation.”

“We will continue to work with the Government on this.

“It is critical that together we ensure that supply can continue and that we build long-term resilience in food-grade CO2 production.”

Supplies of goods that could be affected range from meat products to pressurized soft drinks (file photo)
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British Meat Processors Association Chief Executive Nick Allen said he has been assured animal welfare will be prioritised, alongside the NHS and the nuclear power industry.

Allen said: “We’re not panicking that we’re headed for a problem right away. But it is frustrating that after three months we are reaching the finish line and no one knows where we are.

“We have found more suppliers but yet if it were to close we would only have about 70 per cent of the CO2 we need for this country.”

On potential price increases, Allen said it’s too early to tell if the shortage will lead to higher prices on shelves, but added: “We’ve already seen a four-fold increase in CO2 prices from three months ago. “.

British Beer and Pub Association chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “As the threat of further disruption to CO2 availability grows, so does the potential impact on brewers and pubs.

“The sector urgently needs a longer-term solution to avoid further outages, especially as energy prices are likely to remain high for some time.

“Following a devastating winter spell for our pubs and breweries, continued supply chain disruption could add to the additional cost burden or seriously hamper our recovery as a sector.

“However, beer drinkers and pub goers can rest assured that there is still plenty of beer to go around.”

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www.mirror.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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