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Tips to weather the carbon dioxide crisis

The carbon dioxide (CO2) crisis has caused alarm in the sector with wholesalers rationing the number of cases of carbonated drinks per customer in a bid to keep the supply chain fluid.

It sounds ridiculous: a blistering heatwave, the World Cup, Wimbledon – normally a golden opportunity for independents to enjoy sparkling sales.

The crisis has arisen from a shutdown of ammonia plants to resolve technical problems and for maintenance which has caused liquid CO2 suppliers to struggle.

CO2 is a  byproduct of ammonia, used to make fertiliser. Air Liquide, Linde, Messer and Praxair are the biggest suppliers.

It goes much further than carbonated soft drinks and alcoholic beverages: CO2 has myriad applications – extending shelf-life of salads and fresh meat in modified atmosphere packaging, to stun animals for slaughter and for dry ice to maintain the correct temperatures of perishable foods during transit.  

This has quickly become an all-embracing crisis  that has a potential impact on independents’ income.

Now is the time to think smart until the crisis subsides.

Ideas that might be worth considering include:

  • Avoid putting carbonates on promotion – you want to sell them but you want to ensure you maintain stocks if you find sourcing the required quantities problematic
  • Push still water, juices and dilutables and give them prominence
  • Keep the ice-cream cabinet well stocked and have a varied selection – ensure it is highly visible, using point of sale material
  • Buy clever if you find yourself running short of items affected by the crisis, and shop around, pick up the phone, hunt down stock
  • Liaise with suppliers and wholesalers so you get the heads up on where and when shortages might come so you can take pre-emptive action
  • Keep an eye on social media in the trade and national press so you stay informed.

Do you have any other tips? If so, let’s start a conversation on the Store Excel discussion forum.

Andrew Don

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