PixabAsda have announced that they will be rationing the amount of fizzy drinks their online customers can purchase as the national CO2 shortage continues. Consumers have been restricted to buying six large bottles or multi-packs online with drinks affected including Asda’s own-label soft drinks, plus Pepsi, Pepsi Max, Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coke Zero, 7Up, Irn Bru and Fanta. Don’t panic though, because Asda have also stated that this limit will not affect any in-store purchases, so your late night run for some Fanta before pres is still very much an option.
The CO2 shortage has already hindered beer and meat production, with fizzy drinks being the latest victim. CO2 is not only used in drinks, but in salads, fresh meat and poultry to extend shelf life.
The gas is also used to make dry ice to keep food and drink cold while they are being transported, and to stun livestock before they are slaughtered.
However, many UK-based CO2 providers have had to close for maintenance or scale down their operations, meaning that just two out of five plants remain in business in Ince and Manchester.
The CO2 shortage could not have come at a worse time for manufacturers as the hot weather, world cup and summer barbeque season have meant that demand for beer and fizzy drinks is currently at its peak.
The Food and Drink Federation Chief Executive, Ian Wright, told the BBC that although stocks would not completely run out, ‘choice will be eroded’.
Wright added, “We’ll see probably less carbonated drinks and certainly bakery and other things that benefit from what’s called modified atmosphere packaging, which is plastic packaging with a tray underneath and a dish of food in them.”
Wetherspoons and Ei Group pub chains have stated that they were concerned about running out, or running short of, beers including big names like John Smith’s, Amstel, Moretti and Strongbow Cider.
Some companies have called on the government to help alleviate the situation, although at present the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department for Business have said they are monitoring the situation.