Carbon dioxide CO2 canisters

Source: Linde Group

Carbon dioxide and shipping containers are now part of the national discourse

The recent carbon dioxide crunch was a curveball for companies of all shapes and sizes. As a maker of carbonated drinks, we felt the impact all too clearly.

There is a pecking order when it comes to CO2 supply. Nuclear power uses it as a coolant. Large food storage facilities need it to preserve supermarket supplies. But using the gas for drinks is quite rightly low down on the list.

The episode was another example of the fragility of global supply chains. Whether it’s the CO2 shortage, the petrol scramble on forecourts across the UK, or delays to Christmas stock, we are all much more aware than at the start of the pandemic about how stuff gets from A to B.

Crises force us to think. Do these post-Brexit, pandemic-driven crunches mark the beginning of the end of ‘instant’ consumer culture?

With a new understanding of the work that goes into transporting goods, and an appreciation of the human cost it entails, perhaps we will all accelerate our journey towards more mindful consumer choices. Shipping containers and carbon dioxide didn’t used to be conversation starters in the pub, but they are now part of the national discourse.

Brits are asking more about provenance and seasonality than ever before. Sure, December asparagus or strawberries may lose their wane. But going further, should we order goods from thousands of miles away to make a small saving over a local producer, if it means seafarers and lorry drivers stuck at ports for weeks on end?

It may be assuming too much that we will emerge from Covid-19 and retain all the lessons of the pandemic. Certain behaviours will change for good, but awareness of supply lines that are normally invisible? It is hard to say.

At Dash, purely relying on seasonal wonky fruit & veg, for example, might mean a shortage of some of our most popular flavours. Balancing demand with the right choices for our retail partners, consumers and the planet are always a challenge for us, and something we will continue to work hard on getting right.

As kinks in global supply chains are ironed out, brands will have a keen eye on how consumers respond, and will looking to see whether ‘instant’ culture has really been consigned to the scrapheap or not.