If you’ve noticed it’s been unusually hard to find your dog’s favorite treats or food, you’re not alone. Currently, pet parents in North America are having a hard time tracking down certain foods, even from major retailers like Amazon, Target, and PetSmart.
Since the pandemic began, the pet food sector has been grappling with increased demand and strains on the supply chain. It may be difficult for you to find those treats your pup wants, but it hasn’t been easy on the industry either.
What’s Causing The Shortages?
It’s not just our animals who’ve had a tough time accessing particular products. Many ingredients found in our dogs’ food are also used to make people food. Remember how difficult grocery shopping was back in March of 2020?
On top of rising transportation and labor costs, higher prices for foods like corn, soy, and meat impacted food supplies for both people and animals. Coye Nokes, partner at OC&C Strategy Consultants explained:
“The pet supply chain isn’t that different from the food supply chain. That has obviously been really stressed by COVID – whether it’s the ingredients, raw materials, processing or downtime at different facilities.”
Many people adopted animals during the pandemic as well, contributing to demand. According to the American Pet Products Association, about 12.6 million U.S. households acquired a new pet between March and December 2020.
The Pet Food Manufacturing Industry Grapples With Changes
Companies had to adjust to all of these changes and constraints. For example, Amazon told Reuters that pet food manufacturers have been prioritizing top-selling products over niche ones because of increased demand. That could explain why you aren’t able to find a particular treat your fur kid likes.
According to U.S. industry group the Pet Food Institute, costs for pet food ingredients have climbed 8% to 20% since the pandemic began. In addition to these price increases, manufacturers also face competition for animal and plant-based oils with the renewable fuel industry.
U.S. Agriculture officials wrote in June:
“Unprecedented price increases for ingredients and equipment jeopardize U.S. pet food makers’ ability to plan and execute strategies that will ensure America’s dog and cat food bowls are filled.”
Supply shortages also impacted businesses. Their inability to stock certain products cost them sales. Many people bought pet food in 2020, but had to keep changing what they bought and from where.
Others affected by shortages and supply chain changes include animal charities. Many organizations use wish lists to get donations, and when products aren’t available they have to find substitutions.
If you happen to be in the market for new treats, why not try the iHeartDogs store?