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CAUSTIC SODA SUPPLY UNCERTAINTY AMID CO2 GAS SHORTAGE WORRIES

CAUSTIC SODA SUPPLY UNCERTAINTY AMID CO2 GAS SHORTAGE WORRIES

by hossien moshiri
Chemkraft caustic soda market outlook

A letter obtained by The Grocer highlights the expressed concerns over “significant disruption” to the supply of caustic soda by the UK branch of a major continental food industry business. This concern follows the declaration of force majeure by a leading UK-based sodium hydroxide provider. The consequence could be a potential 50% reduction in the supply of sodium hydroxide for the rest of the year, adding more challenges to supply chains and compounding issues for food businesses already grappling with inflationary pressures and CO2 gas supply concerns, according to a senior source in the food sector.

Sodium hydroxide, a key component in domestic drain cleaner and bleach, plays a crucial role as an industrial cleaning agent in the meat and poultry sectors, both on farms and in slaughterhouses. Its versatile applications also include acting as a peeling agent in cured and tinned foods, a kneading agent in baking, an alkalizer in drinks, and a component in packaging manufacturing.

David Lindars, Technical Operations Director at the British Meat Processors’ Association, emphasized the significance of sodium hydroxide in the food industry, although he mentioned that he hadn’t heard of any companies experiencing shortages at the moment.

supplies of caustic soda for the food industry have been derived from byproducts of other industries, such as plastics and polymers for the automotive and construction sectors. However, rising energy prices have increased the cost of plastic production, reducing demand for chlorine and subsequently impacting the supply of caustic soda, produced as part of the chlorine-making process.

See also  Wastewater treatment chemicals

The Food Standards Agency has taken notice of this situation, reaching out to industry leaders to explore potential alternatives to sodium hydroxide in case of a shortage.

This latest challenge adds to the existing unease among food producers who are already on edge due to concerns about CO2 gas shortages, widely utilized in the meat and drink sectors. Recent warnings by US chemical giant CF Industries about the closure of its only remaining UK plant on Teesside have contributed to a tightening of CO2 gas supply, leading to significant cost increases for this essential input.

CUASTIC SODA, NEXT CHEMICAL SHORTAGE. CHEMKRAFT
Related post:WHY CAUSTIC SODA CAN BE THE NEXT MAJOR SHORTAGE IN THE CHEMICAL INDUSTRY

Similar to sodium hydroxide, CO2 gas supplies for the food industry are primarily byproducts of the production of more lucrative inputs. Carbon dioxide supply, mainly derived from the production of ammonia for fertilizer, has witnessed a surge in prices due to export bans by China and Russia and, more recently, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, resulting in more expensive gas, a crucial fertilizer component.

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