The fragile state of Australia’s food supply chain is once again in the spotlight, as a carbon dioxide shortage threatens to impact the supply of hundreds of consumer products, from baby food to packaged meat.
Coles CEO Steven Cain revealed the tightening supply of manufactured carbon dioxide on Friday, which has been acknowledged by other industry leaders, including the boss of independent supermarket chain Ritchies and the nation’s largest chicken producer, Inghams. The CO2 shortage has already left Woolworths with a shortage of its own-brand carbonated beverages, with many stores sold out for weeks.
CO2 is used in the production of numerous consumer products, as well as for dispensing drinks in pubs and in medical procedures. Australia relies on just two producers for its carbon dioxide, which highlights the fragile state of the country’s supply chains, particularly for food and medicine, which were stressed during the pandemic.
The recent disruption to CO2 supply has put additional stress on the supply chain, with food, grocery, and beverage manufacturers struggling to catch up.