It could take two weeks before supplies of carbon dioxide return to normal, the British Meat Processors Association has warned.
CO2 is used to kill farm animals before processing and in packaging to keep meat fresh but is in short supply.
A plant in Billingham, County Durham is due to restart on Monday.
But BMPA chief executive Nick Allen said its members had been told it could take a fortnight for supplies "return to normal".
Mr Allen told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "It has been one of the frustrations right the way through this crisis that the communication from the producers of CO2 hasn't been very clear."
He said that because it was unclear when supplies were going to increase, it was "so difficult to plan when you don't know actually what's going to happen".
Last week, Quality Pork Limited, which operates Scotland's biggest abattoir at Brechin, had to close and ship some of the 6,000 pigs that pass through the site down to its meat processing partner, Tulip, in England to prevent overcrowding on farms.
As well as the meat industry, CO2 is also used to put the bubbles in carbonated drinks. Over the weekend, Asda said it was limiting the amount of fizzy soft drinks people could buy online.
It has restricted shoppers to six bottles or multipacks of soft drinks online.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, which represents large restaurant and pub chains across the country, said: "We are expecting the situation to get better this week when a major plant comes back online.
However, she added: "It is true that throughout the supply chain we're on to emergency stores of CO2 and if that plant doesn't come back online very quickly, we will be having severe shortages throughout the supply chain."