/ 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.

Comments
Member

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.

Member

I must have missed those, Ian (can happen sometimes!) – I’ll go in and take a look – would be good to feature some of your comments here.

Member

It’s here, George: 25th June.

Member

Thanks Ian. I’ll have a read and see what I can work in 🙂

Member

@carneades Thanks again Ian – I’ve updated so the convo now features your comments. Always happy to link these things up from the Lobby.

Member

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.

Member

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.

Member

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.

Member

Good to know you’re a fellow ale drinker, wavechange 🙂 I often get strange looks when all my friends opt for lager and I’m the only one asking for a ‘proper’ drink!

Member

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.

Member

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.

Member

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.

Member

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.

Member

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

Member

I’ve noticed no problems.

Member

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

🙂

Member

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

Member

https://whatsyourimpact.org/greenhouse-gases/carbon-dioxide-emissions
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.

Member

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.

Member

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

Member

Wavechange /malcolm its security certificate expired 5 days ago leaving it open to whats called “middleman ” attacks or put simply interception so in this instance Wavechange did the right thing . I could have overruled it but my browsers built in virus control courtesy of Yandex blocked it in the first place . I am not saying its being intercepted only that its OPEN to interception due to a hacker. This isn’t the first time this has happened as people wont pay for new ones but its foolish not to do so as it gives a “bad reputation ” in Google Ratings and other places. Malcolm not all internet anti-virus systems pick this up .

Member

For those with the technical ability to understand the technical jargon this website is meant for webmasters etc to verify SSL certificate installation , it also gives other tools . As Yandex provides comprehensive protection via PROTECT ( trade mark ) for banking etc etc etc/ DNS protected server / much more I dont need to use it but its handy for those wanting a quick check. I don’t know why I am doing this to help as to being accused of posting rubbish by some but it still wont stop me TRYING to help those that WANT to be helped. If you are going to criticize me over THIS website you better be VERY good at setting up and maintaining a website because I will want to know the criticisms in DETAIL . https://www.sslshopper.com/ssl-checker.html

Member

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

Member
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.

Member
Sylvia Sinclair says:
12 July 2018

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?

Member

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.