Brits have been warned they could see significant price hikes when shopping at UK supermarkets including Tesco, Asda, Aldi and more due to the surging cost of carbon dioxide.

New analysis suggests the rising cost of carbon dioxide could add £1.7 billion to the cost of British groceries.

Research by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) suggests that the UK’s food and drink sector could end up footing the mammoth extra bill for liquid CO2 if gas prices remain high.

UK commercial energy prices have rocketed over the past year, accelerated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The move has had heavy ramifications for industries reliant on carbon dioxide, with production also disrupted due to the rampant inflation.

CO2 is used in a raft of sectors but particularly in food and drink, including in the slaughter of pigs and chickens, to add fizz to beer and soft drinks, and in packaging foods safely.

There are new fears that gas prices could rise further, or even that supplies will be cut off, leading to further increases in the price of liquid CO2 or a repeat of last year’s shortage.

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Businesses in the food and drink sector are already paying significantly more for energy than even a few months ago.

Fay Jones, MP for Brecon and Radnorshire and chair of the Farming APPG, said: “The price of gas is adding thousands of pounds to families’ energy bills.

“Now, like last autumn, it could affect supplies of CO2 and of fertilisers, and drive up the price of everything from beer to bacon.”

Matt Williams, climate and land programme lead at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), said: “The UK’s reliance on fossil fuels affects more than just families’ energy bills. It could bring the food and drink system to its knees.

“Rising energy costs are creating an extra cost of hundreds of millions of pounds in the food and drink industry that customers may struggle to avoid.

“If high gas prices, or even blackouts, force factories to close it could create real problems for farmers and the food and drink industry.”