Coca-Cola pauses production due to CO2 shortage

A UK shortage of CO2 gas has led to Coca-Cola and several beer producers temporarily pausing production at two of its three production plants.

John Smith’s, Amstel and Heineken have also been affected by the shortage, but Coca-Cola says the shortage has not yet affected supplies.

Online supermarket Ocado is said to be rationing frozen food kept cool by dry ice as it attempts to avoid running out.

More than five northern European CO2 producers are reportedly offline for maintenance. Only one of the UK’s three CO2 manufacturers remains in service with seasonal maintenance currently in effect across the country.

A Coca-Cola spokesperson said: “We are currently responding to an industry-wide issue that is impacting the supply of CO2 in the UK. Our focus is on limiting the effect this may have on the availability of our products.

“During this time we temporarily paused some of our production lines for short periods, however there has been no disruption to supply to date and we are continuing to fulfil orders to our customers. We are working closely with our suppliers, partners and customers on a number of solutions as the situation develops.”

Procurement experts at Ivalua say the shortages were planned and that companies could have been better prepared for them. Alex Saric, ‘smart procurement expert’, said: “This CO2 shortage couldn’t have come at a worse time for the UK. It’s summer, and Brits have got World Cup fever, which will be driving higher than usual demand for soft drinks and beer.

“The likes of Coca-Cola and Amstel have paused production due to the shortage, meaning this could have an impact later in the summer. These shortages come as a result of too many European CO2 production facilities closing for maintenance, something that could have been better planned for.

“It’s not clear how long the shortage will last, so organisations affected need to work closely with their suppliers to find a solution, or try to find an alternative short term supply to ensure that this doesn’t impact on consumers. Organisations must enable proactive and scalable supplier collaboration and visibility to ensure such supply challenges don’t occur again.”

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