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CO2 Shortage hits fizzy drinks industry in Europe

| Supplier news

The production of beer and fizzy soft drinks is reportedly being impacted by a shortage of carbon dioxide gas (CO2) across Europe.

A number of major drinks manufacturers are said to be experiencing disruption at a time when demand for their drinks is high due to the warmer summer weather and the football World Cup.

One of the largest sources of food-grade CO2 in Europe has traditionally been ammonia plants. A report by Gasworld said that while the supply position tightened in April, driven by the “usual” turnaround of maintenance procedures in ammonia plants, the position started to become critical when other plants associated with bio-ethanol and chemical production were also shut down for maintenance or for technical issues. The UK is said to have been hardest hit with only one major CO2 plant operating.

Brigid Simmonds, head of the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), commented: “We are aware of a situation affecting the availability of CO2 across Europe, which has now started to impact beer producers in the UK. We have recommended our members to continue to liaise with their providers directly where they have concerns over supply.”

Meanwhile, Gavin Partington, director general of the British Soft Drinks Association, said: “The shortage of CO2 across northern Europe is impacting a wide range of businesses across the food and drink sector.

“Soft drinks producers in the UK are taking active steps to maintain their service to customers including working with their suppliers to mitigate the impact as well as looking at alternative sources.”

One soft drinks manufacturer told the Financial Times that the shortage was not yet affecting production but that “it is an issue”.  Other reports suggested there was a “mad scramble among suppliers” to secure supplies.

Both Tesco and Morrisons are believed to be running low on stocks of some of their own fizzy soft drinks with the retailers informing customers of “supply issues”.

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