EXCLUSIVE: CO2 shortages disrupt shelf life and packaging of cheeses by Lactalis

Retailers should expect to see a change in the appearance of packs

The shelf life and packaging of a number of block cheeses supplied by Lactalis have been affected by a CO2 shortage.

A message sent to Nisa stores this week, and seen by Better Retailing, confirmed the news and listed Co-op, Galloway, Orkney and Seriously as the disrupted brands.

It said a shortage of CO2 from Lactalis’ production site in Stranraer in Scotland, meant it was reducing the volume of CO2 it used when packing the products.

“This has been agreed and approved with the Co-op’s technical team and will begin to be delivered into Nisa depots by the end of this week,” it read.

As a result, retailers should expect to see a change in the appearance of packs, where they may seem less ‘snug’ than before, and a reduction in the shelf life of the product, which has already been updated on Nisa systems.

The changes were expected to last until 1 April.

A spokesperson from Lactalis UK & Ireland said: “Following the onset of war in the Ukraine and rising energy prices which then led to shortages of CO2 (due to rising primary costs of electricity, natural gas and carbon linked to CO2 production), the UK has experienced fluctuations in supply of CO2 from the two main UK-based suppliers, CF Fertilisers UK & Ensus.

“These shortages of CO2 have impacted many food suppliers, including Lactalis UK & Ireland, who use CO2 to gas flush food products when packed, to help keep them in optimum quality throughout their shelf life.

“Since our own supplier declared a force majeure in late September 2022, Lactalis UK & Ireland has worked proactively with its customers and our CO2 suppliers to ensure continuous supply. The letter seen by Better Retailing is an example of our customer communication to keep our customers fully appraised of the situation.

“At Lactalis, quality and food safety is a total and absolute priority and the steps we have taken are so that we can continue to provide safe, tasty products and a superior experience for our consumers and customers.”

The affected brands have been approached for comment.

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