What is CO2 . . . Carbon dioxide aka CO2 is a clear, odourless gas formed by biological processes such as fermenting beer or whisky. It can also be sourced from industries that have a high-volume CO2 rich gas stream as a natural by-product – such as ammonia.
CO2 is widely used in the food processing and drinks industries. It puts the fizz into beer, cider and soft drinks, and is used in food packaging to extend the shelf life of salads, fresh meat and poultry.
So why are we facing a shortage? Supplies of CO2 are always lower in summer. However this year ammonia is in particularly short supply and demand for carbonated drinks increases with the warmer weather.
The shortage is currently causing concern for the UK food & drink industry with the scarcity forcing beer, fizzy drink, crumpet, and meat firms to curb production. Some grocers have begun rationing the amount of some fizzy drinks customers can buy on line and some bottling plants are refusing to take any more orders for the foreseeable future. If the CO2 crisis is not averted, there could also be big implications for carbonated water.
So what next? As the situation grows ever more urgent The British Soft Drinks Association says its members are working with suppliers to mitigate the impact as well as looking at alternative sources of CO2. The situation is very much in the hands of the producers themselves and shortages may last for weeks to come.
Here at GEM we are managing our supply of carbonated drinks and will do our best to ensure our customers aren’t affected. We have a great range of non-carbonated drinks and waters to enhance our offering and this area is growing all the time!