The Party’s Over

Two key elements of any great party (in my humble opinion) may be a lot harder for Kiwis to get their hands on. A shortage of CO2 is threatening the stock of chicken nuggets and now a global helium shortage is disrupting celebrations further.

The availability of cheese, preserved meats, sparkling beverages and ready-to-eat meals could all suffer due to a shortage of carbon dioxide gas in New Zealand, with chicken producer, Tegel warning it may not be able to produce some products – particularly everybody’s favourite: chicken nuggets.

The closure of the Marsden Pt oil refinery in March meant the supply of CO2 had been limited.

Michael Brooks from the Poultry Industry Association of New Zealand said industries were only receiving half of the CO2 needed from the supplier.

"There are industry-wide CO2 shortages and companies need CO2 to make chicken nuggets. They are currently receiving 50 per cent of requirements."

Worker shortages because of Covid and the flu meant those in chicken production had to concentrate on products that were less labour intensive - such as whole chickens and chicken meat.

Meanwhile, the global helium shortage has been affecting party balloons and even the U.S.A’s National Weather Service.

Helium is a rare substance produced when uranium decays. Already difficult to mine, there are only a few sources in the world that produce the gas. Currently, the United States is one of the world’s largest helium producers, along with Qatar and Algeria. However, due to supply chain disruptions, including production plant closures and the 2017 embargo on Qatar, the global supply of helium has been severely affected.

In addition to the shortage affecting various instruments and machines that require the gas to function safely, various companies have been struck with negative balloon sales.

These shortages are compounding an already dire situation for the global food supply chain. What will New Zealand’s response be when the party is well and truly over?