Household budgets could soon be under further pressure as rising phone bills and CO2 shortages threaten to add to the cost of living crisis.
Experts warned a CO2 shortage could once again hit supermarket supply chains when a deal struck by the government to solve the crisis in the autumn expires on Monday.
Carbon dioxide is used in the transport and packaging of food, keeping perishable products such as meat, salad and bread fresh for long enough to make it from production to plates.
The UK’s CO2 supply was put at risk in September, when soaring wholesale gas prices – which are also driving increased household energy bills – forced two factories in northern England to close, cutting off 60 per cent of the UK’s CO2 stock. A short-term deal made by ministers allowed production to restart.
But with factories now under the same pressures as the deal ends, further CO2 supply issues 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,” said Kate Halliwell, chief scientific officer for the Food and Drink Federation.
“We will continue to work with the government on this,” she added. “It is critical that together we ensure supply can continue and that we build long-term resilience into the production of food-grade CO2.”