All over the world, the demand for sparkling drinks is rising. Total soft drink consumption in 2015 was about 228 billion liters. Air Liquide delivers the carbon dioxide (CO₂) that the beverage industry needs to produce the world’s favorite carbonated beverages. We provide beverage makers with the highest quality food grade gases.
Carbonation, or the addition of carbon dioxide (CO2) into liquid, is the technique that gives drinks their fizz and makes sparkling beverages possible.
Pressurized carbon dioxide is fed into a carbonator to create bubbles. They are dissolved into the liquid. When the pressure is released, the carbon dioxide escapes from the liquid which explains why carbonated beverages eventually go flat.
Carbonation is carried out either in factories where beverages are processed and bottled or on-site at places of consumption such as bars and fast food restaurants.
“FSSC 22000 certification is definitely an obligation today. If you want to be in the CO₂ beverage market then you need to be certified.”
What was the context for Air Liquide to launch this program?
In 2010, a major beverage company asked its main carbon dioxide (CO₂) suppliers to be food safe compliant as the use of CO₂ in beverages was considered to be an ingredient, not an additive or processing aid as for nitrogen. I suggested that we implement a Food Safety System Certification scheme (FSSC 22000) within the Air Liquide Group. In 2011, we started a pilot project to ensure that our CO₂ plants in Europe were compliant, and then extended the program throughout the world.
What did the certification process entail?
FSSC 22000 is a facility certification where inspectors come to your CO₂ facility in order to observe the management of food safety hazards, hygiene and instrumentation for your process. At each plant, we had to build a team, which usually included the plant manager, operators and personnel from the distribution department, in order to conduct a risk analysis that looked at the different impurities in the CO₂. We then determined the best practices to process and control those impurities. It took about 3-6 months to certify just one plant, and more than 2 years to get 90% of our liquid CO₂ capacities certified worldwide.
How does certification impact on your customers?
For our customers, they have two objectives. Their first objective is to have a social responsibility towards their products, trademarks and brands, while their second objective is to avoid any costly mishaps. FSSC 22000 certification is definitely an obligation today. If you want to be in the CO₂ beverage market then you need to be certified.
How has Air Liquide been able to add value through certification?
The approach that we took in regards to our governance philosophy along with the development of enhanced support tools and templates set a new standard for the industry. Some of our customers had their own plants that needed certification, and they were very interested in using our methodology and tools. We are extremely proud of this initiative because it demonstrates that our customers have confidence in our way of working, but more importantly, it has allowed us to bring additional value to the CO₂ beverage market.
Air Liquide knows that in order to produce the world’s favorite carbonated beverages, industry actors need the highest grade of carbon dioxide that meets the strictest standards around the globe.
Ensuring traceability along the gas supply chain
Air Liquide offers a range of food grade gases. As the industry benchmark, our ALIGAL™ gases meet HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) standards for production and logistics of gases dedicated to the food and beverage industry. HACCP is a system which identifies, evaluates and controls hazards which are significant to food safety. Our ALIGAL™ gases adhere to strict quality specifications and go beyond standard regulatory requirements. This ensures traceability along the gas supply chain.
Thanks to FSSC 22000 certification program in all our carbon dioxide production facilities, ALIGAL DRINK™ gas meet the stringent quality and traceability standards demanded by our multinational beverage customers.