British association: CO2 crisis threatens food market

Released on 21.09. 2021

  • Pigs on a farm in Staffordshire. In the opinion of the food industry, there will soon be acute supply problems in supermarkets and restaurants due to a CO2 crisis in Great Britain. Photo: Joe Giddens

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The UK supply chains are under pressure: there is a lack of CO2 for packaging food – especially meat products. Part of the blame is the high price of natural gas.

London (dpa) – In the opinion of the food industry, there will soon be acute supply problems in supermarkets and restaurants due to a CO2 crisis in Great Britain.

Above all, the production of chicken and Pork and baked goods are affected, said Ian Wright, head of the food and beverage manufacturers’ association FDF, on Tuesday the broadcaster BBC Radio 4. “We have about ten days before consumers, customers and restaurant visitors realize that these products are out of stock” , said Wright.

Due to tens of thousands of missing truck drivers, there were gaps on the shelves recently. In addition, an extreme shortage of carbon dioxide (CO2) is currently affecting the production of meat products, for example. The gas is required to seal the packaging in a vacuum-tight manner. It was a real crisis, Wright said. The supply chains for supplying supermarkets and restaurants are under more pressure than they have been in 40 years.

Natural gas prices burden manufacturers and consumers

CO2 is generated in fertilizer production. However, fertilizer manufacturers have recently been hit by the enormous increase in energy prices. The prices for natural gas in particular have risen sharply. The important manufacturer CF Industries therefore closed two factories in Great Britain for the time being. Economy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng said on Tuesday that he was negotiating temporary financial aid with the US company.

The skyrocketing natural gas prices – the increase since the beginning of the year is around 250 percent – also cause unrest among consumers. Kwarteng admitted that poor families in particular are facing a hard winter. The rise in gas prices coincides with a cut in social security benefits, which the government had increased because of the coronavirus pandemic. Kwarteng and the supervisory authority Ofgem announced that, contrary to what was planned, the upper price limit for energy costs should not be increased for the time being.

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