Not the Beer! CO2 Supply Shortage Puts UK Stores on Food and Drink Rations
A shortage in the supply chain can have wide-ranging effects, as evidenced by a lack of carbon dioxide that stretches back to the fertilizer industry, and is affecting everything from food packaging to the amount of beer making its way onto grocery shelves.
The UK wholesaler Booker is limiting its customers – including grocery stores and bars – to 10 cases of beer per brand a day, as a result of the CO2 shortage. The CO2 is a byproduct of ammonia produced for use in fertilizer, but several major ammonia plants in Europe closing for maintenance has created the unexpected shortage.
Manufacturers of soda and beer, which rely on CO2 for their fizzy bubbles, are taking a hit. Heineken even warned that kegs from some brands such as Amstel may not be available in Britain. And Coca Cola has been forced to pause production lines for brief periods.
CO2 is also used to stun livestock before slaughter – and without this method, the number of live chickens and pigs on the farm have nowhere to go. It’s also used in other stages of the grocery chain, such as food packaging (where it’s used to slow bacteria growth) and delivery (where dry ice is used to keep food cold during transport).
The CO2 shortage is only expected to last a few more weeks, but this is proof that when even one aspect of a supply chain is altered, the ramifications – including a lack of beer during the World Cup! – can be surprising and severe.
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