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Energy Crisis Brings Fresh Chaos for Battered U.K. Food Supplies

  • Online grocer Ocado can’t deliver frozen food without dry ice
  • Meat sector warns businesses could ‘grind to a halt’ in weeks
Signs indicating short supply of certain food products at supermarket in London.
Signs indicating short supply of certain food products at supermarket in London.Photographer: Hollie Adams/Bloomberg
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The fallout from Europe’s energy crisis is sending fresh shockwaves through the U.K. food sector, after online grocer Ocado Group Plc stopped supplying frozen products to customers and the meat industry warned that businesses could “grind to a halt” within two weeks. 

The latest shock to the industry comes from a sudden shortage of carbon dioxide, used to stun pigs and chickens for slaughter, as well as in packaging to extend shelf life and the ‘dry ice’ that keeps freezer items frozen during delivery. Supplies have been hit after fertilizer maker CF Industries Holdings Inc. responded this week to surging natural gas prices by closing U.K. fertilizer plants that make carbon dioxide as a byproduct. Rival Yara International ASA said Friday it will also curtail European capacity.