Asda forced to ration sale of fizzy drinks as CO2 shortage continues

A shortage of the gas is affecting supply of beer, cider, soft drinks, fresh meat and crumpets

Chiara Giordano
Saturday 30 June 2018 12:26
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CO2 shortage: British brewer describes how they are coping on 50 per cent supply of the gas

Asda is rationing the amount of fizzy drinks its customers can buy as the country’s CO2 ”crisis” worsens.

The supermarket giant has put a cap on shoppers buying more than six bottles or multipacks of soft drinks online.

Its own-label soft drinks have been rationed, as well as big name brands Pepsi, Pepsi Max, Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Fanta and 7Up.

The limit does not apply to sales in-store, a spokesperson for Asda confirmed.

The shortage of CO2 – which is used to put the fizz into drinks and to keep food fresh – has also affected sales of beer, cider and meat, meaning shoppers could find they have a lack of choice when it comes to their food shop.

Pubs, corner shops and restaurants have run out of some top beer and cider brands on what is expected to be one of their busiest weekends of the year as World Cup celebrations coincide with warm weather.

Booker, the UK’s biggest food and drink wholesaler, has limited beer and soft drink sales to thousands of pubs, bars and shops across the country.

(REUTERS

It also emerged on Thursday that Warburtons had been forced to stop making crumpets at two of its four bakeries – in Enfield, London, and Burnley, Lancashire – because it did not have enough of the gas.

And supermarkets have now warned the shortage could hit meat supplies, creating a shortage in UK shops.

A spokesperson for the British Retail Consortium said retailers and supplies were “working hard to ensure food availability is maintained by sourcing suitable alternatives”.

“Issues remain with the supply of CO2 across Europe,” said the spokesperson.

“We are aware of specific pressures in some areas such as carbonated soft drinks, beer, British chicken and British pork but the majority of food products are unaffected and retailers do not anticipate food shortages.

“However, it is likely that the mix of products available may be affected.”

The CO2 shortage has been caused by the shutdown of a number of ammonia factories, which produce the gas as a byproduct, and the situation has been worsened as it coincides with the World Cup and the spell of hot weather.

The gas is used to put the fizz into drinks, to package goods to prolong their shelf life, and also in the process of stunning pigs and chickens before slaughter and to make dry ice to keep the animals chilled while they are transported.

The Independent has approached Asda for comment.

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