2 Sisters Food Group founder, Ranjit Singh Boparan, has warned that this year’s CO2 crisis has now intensified from a producer shut down issue to a "wider price shock" for consumers and CO2 users.
The statement follows the announcement of a price hike of up to 20 times the current rate by a key CO2 supplier.
According to Boparan, this decision by a major UK supplier will ultimately compound the food inflation environment for shoppers and his businesses will have no choice but to swallow the increases.
Boparan added, “This is a price shock just like we’ve seen with energy, and all companies and households are feeling the pain right now. What is very sad is that it’s the UK shopper who will ultimately pay the price and CO2 suppliers are, in effect, holding consumers hostage.”
In food production, CO2 is used in the dispatch of poultry and in packaging to extend shelf-life. It also acts as a coolant for refrigeration purposes.
In the UK, approximately 2,000 tonnes of CO2 is used per day, analysis by 2 Sisters Food Group has revealed.
Plants in Billingham and Wilton, due for imminent closure, supply 1,300 tonnes of CO2, while the current import capacity from Europe is around 600 tonnes.
Boparan commented, “This is a very serious situation we are facing. Once again, UK food security is under threat and the shopper ultimately loses – we simply have no choice other than to pay to keep supply. C02 suppliers are saying these increases happen immediately. They say it’s a take it or leave it situation."
Boparan has urged the government to take the current crisis seriously and treat it as a "matter of urgency".
"I’d like to see an acknowledgement of the problem and action to regulate the CO2 market, or at least consider price capping,” he added.