Hovis has reduced the best-before date of some of its products as a result of the carbon dioxide shortage.

Many manufacturers use gas-flushing in the packaging of some baked goods, including crumpets, wraps, naan breads, part-baked bread and cakes. The process replaces the oxygen in packaging with a mix of gases, typically carbon dioxide and nitrogen, to help inhibit mould growth, and prevent the pack collapsing.

Hovis this week told British Baker its production had not been impacted by the shortage of food-grade carbon dioxide as it did not use significant amounts of the gas in its manufacturing process.

However, it has had to temporarily reduce the best-before dates of some products.

“CO2 is used to gas-flush some Hovis products during packaging to extend the shelf life and, as a precaution, we have slightly reduced the best-before dates for those affected products as a temporary measure until such time as CO2 stocks return to normal levels."

The manufacturer added that all packs of Hovis products carried accurate information on best-before dates that reflected the changes.

Warburtons was forced to halt manufacture of crumpets at its factories in Enfield and Burnley for a short period because of the shortage, but has since resumed production after securing a supply of carbon dioxide.

“After a tricky couple of weeks, we have finally received a supply of carbon dioxide and production has returned to normal at all sites,” said Warburtons corporate and consumer affairs manager Tearmh Taylor earlier this week.

Meanwhile, Campden BRI has launched a project to investigate the impact of carbon dioxide on the shelf life of modified atmosphere-packed foods.