Beer and burger shortages loom as UK ends CO2 industry support

British producers have raised concerns over beer and burger shortages and increased prices for shoppers, after the government announced it will not be renewing its short-term support for the CO2 industry.

After the crisis last autumn, a three-month deal was enacted, which saw the government supporting the UK’s main producer of CO2 as an emergency measure. The deal, which is due to end next week, will not be renewed.

A hold-up in supplies is expected to impact soft drinks and bakery producers as well as brewers and meat processors – who all require CO2 in packaging their products.

READ MORE: FSA warns meat producers of ‘short interruptions’ before Christmas

The deal was supposed to allow time for alternative sources of food grade CO2 to be developed. However, industry insiders revealed there has been little progress.

British Beer and Pub Association representative Stephen Livens expressed that further interruptions would be “pretty terrifying” and that the UK brewing industry would be in “serious trouble” if it had to rely on CO2 imports.

Livens warned that brewers were already absorbing a 10% to 15% rise in operational costs that could impact consumers when demand rises over the summer.

The news comes as the UK faces the highest inflation rate in three decades, with the CPI for food rising to 5.4%.

Further complications with CO2 shortages in food production will add to inflation for shoppers for both food and drink.

“We are concerned that with just days now remaining before that agreement comes to an end, and energy prices still very high, there will be further CO2 shortages once again,” revealed a spokesperson for the Food and Drink Federation..

“This could lead to shortages in the products we find on our supermarket shelves – adding further pressures to families already coping with high food-price inflation.”

The FDF added: “We will continue to work with the government on this. It is critical that together we ensure supply can continue and that we build long-term resilience into the production of food-grade CO2.”

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