A Europe-wide shortage of carbon dioxide has prompted fears that the production of Irn-Bru could be interrupted, according to reports.
The Scotsman reports that the maker of the drink is facing “unprecedented circumstances”.
The gas is used to give the Irn-Bru its fizz, but AG Barr, which manufacturers the ginger drink, has warned that the supply chain could be interrupted if the situation worsens.
Cumbernauld-based Barr’s, one of the UK’s largest soft drinks manufacturers, makes other fizzy drinks alongside Irn-Bru, including Tizer and Rubicon.
Two UK fertilizer factories recently announced they would close amid soaring energy prices, prompting supply chain fears across the country.
The factories produce carbon dioxide (CO2) as a by-product, which is then used in soft drinks and beer, as well as in food packaging to extend shelf life and to keep deliveries chilled.
A Barr’s spokesperson told the Scotsman: “We’re currently producing to normal schedules.
“However, if the situation worsens across Europe then we could be impacted, but we’re taking action to protect normal customer supply as much as possible.
“We have worked hard to build resilience into our CO2 supply chain over a number of years. However, these are quite unprecedented circumstances.”
Meat industry leaders have also warned the situation could impact farmers, with CO2 used the stun animals before they are slaughtered.
They say farmers could be forced to cull their animals because of delays of the shortage and delays at abattoirs.
Nick Allen, chief executive of the British Meat Processors Association, said: “We urgently need the secretary of state for business to convene the big CO2 manufacturers to demand that they coordinate to minimise disruption, and provide information to Britain’s businesses so contingency plans can be made.”
Asked about the issue of food shortages, Prime Minister Boris Johnson says there are “bottle knecks” as the world “wakes up from Covid”.
He says the industry was also struggling because of a lack of HGV drivers.
Mr Johnson said: “We’re experiencing bottlenecks in all kinds of things as the world wakes up from Covid.
“It is fundamentally caused by the global economy coming to life again.
“The guy ropes are pinging off Gulliver and it’s standing up, and it’s going to take a while, as it were, for the circulation to adjust.”
‘All sorts of problems’ – Boris Johnson
Reporters travelling with the prime minister on a trip to the US have asked if the supply issues could take months to resolve.
He said: “It could be faster than that, it could be much faster than that.
“But there are problems as you know with shipping, with containers, with staff – there are all sorts of problems.
“But then these are problems that affect the entire world. I think market forces will be very, very swift in sorting it out.”