CO2 shortage threatens U.K. poultry industry

As a result of global inflation, multiple countries have found themselves in a CO2 shortage, particularly the U.K.

(Aha-Soft | Bigstock)
(Aha-Soft | Bigstock)

As a result of global inflation, multiple countries have found themselves in a CO2 shortage, particularly the U.K.

How did the shortage happen?

Approximately 42% of the U.K.’s CO2 supply comes from ammonia production company, CF Industries, as CO2 is a byproduct of the process. However, due to rising natural gas costs, CF Industries temporarily halted CO2 production at two U.K. facilities last year – Billingham and Ince – and has now closed one with the potential for the other to follow. 

Across the pond in the U.S., a major CO2 reservoir in Mississippi – the Jackson Dome – was contaminated earlier this year, exacerbating the shortage. New Zealand is also seeing a shortage after one of its oil refineries ceased production. 

How will the CO2 shortage impact poultry production?

According to the owner of food processing company, 2 Sisters Food Group, Ranjit Singh Boparan, CO2 suppliers have increased the cost of CO2 to 20 times its pre-shortage cost.

“When poultry cannot be processed, it means birds must be kept on farms where there is a potential implication for animal welfare... My businesses are resilient, and we will navigate our way through this current CO2 crisis in partnership with our customers and suppliers,” said Boparan. “But make no mistake – negotiation is not an option here with the suppliers.”

What does this mean for consumers?

Boparan warned that the CO2 price shock will travel down to the consumers.

“This is a price shock just like we’ve seen with energy, and all companies and households are feeling the pain right now,” said Boparan. “What is very sad is that it’s the U.K. shopper who will ultimately pay the price and CO2 suppliers are, in effect, holding consumers hostage.”

More on 2 Sisters Food Group

According to WATTPoultry.com's Top Companies database, 2 Sisters Food Group is the leading poultry producer in the U.K. with 323 million birds produced per year. 

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