/ Food & Drink

Has the ongoing CO2 shortage affected you?

A shortage of CO2 gas across Europe continues to affect the supply and production of food and drinks. Have you noticed the impact just yet?

The lack of available CO2, which puts the ‘fizz’ into some alcoholic and soft drinks, has led to Asda actually rationing the amount of fizzy drinks available from its online store.

On 1 July, it was reported that Asda’s online customers were limited to purchasing six bottles or multipacks of brands such as Coca-Cola, Fanta and Pepsi.

Food and drink affected

It’s not been the best timing for a CO2 shortage. The World Cup and the recent heatwave have combined to produce a higher demand for beer, with many people throwing BBQ parties and enjoying England’s success.

And it’s not just drinks that a lack of the gas can impact on – CO2 is also used in the slaughtering of livestock, as well as extending the shelf-life in fresh meat and salad packaging.

A long-term problem?

So, could we actually run out of fizzy soft drinks, beer and meat!?

While the temporary closure of some UK and European factories has curbed production, it seems unlikely supplies could completely run out unless the shortage became extremely prolonged.

I recently spoke with someone inside the industry (who preferred to remain anonymous) and was told:

“Suppliers are now sourcing CO2 from as far away as Northern Africa. They’re doing their best to keep customers happy by prioritising the most popular products – so customers may struggle to find lesser-known brands on the shelves in the coming weeks”

With the resulting depleted stock and inconsistent production, it means that shoppers may struggle to find the usual deals and promotions they might expect – especially during popular summer sporting events.

Have you noticed the CO2 shortage during your weekly shop? If so, have you had to spend more as a result? Let us know if you’ve been affected.


We posted about this in the Lobby more than a week ago. It seems three UK factories were taken offline for maintenance. Strange time to do maintenance.

It’s here, George: 25th June.

Not really a strange time, co2 is a byproduct of the fertiliser manufacturing process. Farmers don’t need so much during the summer. And a fall in global ammonia prices means it has been cheaper for British fertiliser producers to buy in ammonia from abroad instead of producing it in the UK. Hence to save money they’re all doing maintenance at the same time.

The only beer I buy is real ale and that must not be carbonated. In fact the brewers collect and sell the surplus carbon dioxide. I don’t buy fizzy drinks.

As far as I know, there are alternatives to using carbon dioxide to help increase the shelf life of packaged meat.

I actually dislike fizz intensely, and often make my own drinks from Dandelion and Burdock, Cream soda and coke, which I then stand in the ‘fridge before drinking. They become wonderfully flat.

We are spoiled for choice now, George. I expect that some of your friends will graduate to something with a little more character at some stage.

I have noticed that ‘throwing lager’ has made a comeback in response to recent events on the football pitch. Normality will likely resume quickly now, thus taking the pressure off the CO2 industry.

In the absence of a fire extinguisher, shake a can of lager and point it at the base of the fire before opening. Unlike a real carbon dioxide extinguisher it should not be used on electrical fires.

Drop a polo mint into a large bottle of Coke, shake it with your thumb over the top, and squirt. A better use for Coke.

Mentos and Coke is the traditional way of covering everything in a sticky mess.

I’ve noticed no problems.

Am I the only one to think, “CO2 shortage? Oh, the irony…”?


We exhale carbon dioxide and so do most cars and central heating boilers, but its quite expensive to recover it from the air. 🙁

This seems to quite comprehensively deal with sources of carbon dioxide.It doesn’t mention how much is released into the atmosphere when we open bottles of fizzy drink 🙁

The current shortage is largely linked, I read, to the temporary shut-down of ammonia production plants from which it is a by-product. I can exist without crumpets, beer and coke.

When I tried to access that website I was warned not to open it for security reasons. 🙁

If you go for real cider then that will be naturally carbonated, whereas most of the cider sold in bottles and pubs is pasteurised and requires added carbon dioxide, just like keg beer.

It was given a clearance by my antivirus software, otherwise I wouldn’t have posted the link.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Thanks Duncan. I’ve seen similar messages a few times and we had an example here a few months ago.

Phil says:
11 July 2018

Real ale in this house so no problems there. I’ve not had any problems buying lemonade to go with the Pimms either, got two 2 litre bottles.

I buy Asda Smart Price sparkling water and they failed to supply any of the 8 bottles with my online order today, neither did they supply an alternative. Can I assume therefore that the whole store is out of sparkling water due to this shortage?

Probably, Sylvia, or perhaps only available to a maximum purchase of two bottles at a time and not in multi-packs. The distribution of limited CO2 supplies has given priority to essential functions and many lower-priority uses and processes have been suspended. Maybe ASDA’s sparkling water producer has had to ration supplies or, in a restricted market, prefers to concentrate on production with a higher profit margin than a cut-price supermarket contract. I have seen bottled sparkling water on sale in other supermarkets but it is hardly one of life’s essentials.