If you've thought that you were seeing problems with supply shortages in the U.S., the United Kingdom is looking far worse, seeing a lack of chickens that shut down fast-food restaurants, a driver shortage and now a carbon dioxide shortfall that could force the U.K. soft drink industry to shut down.
"Some soft drinks manufacturers have only a few days of CO2 supply left in reserve," the British Soft Drink Association warned Sept. 20. "As it stands, most CO2 suppliers are currently not scheduling beyond 24 hours in advance, meaning there is no visibility as to U.K. stocks and no certainty around deliveries. If soft drinks manufacturers cannot get hold of CO2 supplies after their reserves have run out, production of certain products will have to cease."
Much of the problem has to do with less production at fertilizer factories. The CO2 is a byproduct of fertilizer operations.
The soft drinks sector supports more than 300,000 jobs in the U.K., the association noted as it urged lawmakers to prioritize CO2. That includes bottling and other packaging suppliers.
The shortage in the U.K. is linked both to pandemic-related slowdowns and a lack of labor, but the recent Brexit from the European Union also means that the supply of CO2 from European suppliers from regions such as the Netherlands is being allocated to EU customers first.
Failing to act now, the association says, will mean fewer fizzy drinks during the Christmas holidays.