British Association: Possible food shortage

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 supply problems in supermarkets and restaurants due to a CO2 crisis in Great Britain.

Above all, the production of chicken and pork as well as 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.”

There is also a lack of drivers

Due to tens of thousands of missing truck drivers, there were already gaps on the shelves. In addition, a lack of carbon dioxide (CO2) is currently affecting the production of meat products, for example. The gas is required to seal 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.

CO2 is generated in fertilizer production. Manufacturers have recently been hit by the rise in natural gas prices. The important producer CF Industries therefore closed two factories in Great Britain for the time being. Now an acute crisis could have been averted: After negotiations with Economics Minister Kwasi Kwarteng, the US company announced on Tuesday that it would restart operations. CF and the government had negotiated financial aid.

High energy prices weigh on consumers

The soaring gas prices – the plus since the beginning of the year is around 250 percent – also cause unrest among British consumers. Kwarteng admitted that poor families in particular are facing a hard winter. The rise in gas prices coincides with a cut in a benefit that the government raised because of the 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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