Pet owners can find it harder than usual to find their dog or cat’s favorite canned food and, you guessed it, supply chain backlogs are always to blame .
In June 2021, the Pet Food Institute (PFI), which represents American manufacturers of dog and cat food and treats, sent public comments to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) which outlined supply chain and manufacturing issues impacting industry. And those same issues continue to plague manufacturers and consumers even now in 2022, according to PFI.
“While the entire food system has faced incredible disruption during the COVID-19 pandemic, American pet food manufacturers have also been forced to meet new supply and product challenges. transportation of ingredients,” said Dana Brooks, President and CEO of PFI. “America’s dog and cat food manufacturers have responded with resilience and are working hard to make nutritionally balanced foods for our pets, but PFI is calling on the Biden administration to identify policy solutions that will help further strengthen the of American food and agriculture for the future.”
Even after COVID-19 cases began to decline and businesses resumed operations as normal, ingredients such as chicken by-products and vegetable oils, which are used in many canned pet foods from company, were hard to find, according to PFI.
“These ingredient shortages have not diminished as the pandemic has begun to recede. PFI members report that all ingredient costs have increased by 8-20%, with dramatic price increases for corn derivatives and soy, which are key ingredients in many dog and cat food formulations,” PFI mentioned.
In California, franchises such as PetSmart have run out of canned food in several locations, FOX 11 reported.
Director of Centinela Feed & Pet Supplies in Torrance, Calif., Jen Muise, said worker shortages at canneries have been a problem for pet stores since late last year.
“Often it’s a good idea to work with groups that have their own physical canneries, brands like Lotus and Fromm that don’t just have US-based canneries, but own their own canneries, so they control the supply, they control the operation, you don’t have as many problems with that,” Muise told FOX 11.
“Brands like Stella and Chewy are turning into food pouches as well as packs so they don’t have to depend on the canner situation or the foil we have,” said Dan Ryu, COO. from Centinela Feed & Pet Supplies.
In January, the Tampa Bay Humane Society (TBHS) in Florida noted a shortage of certain canned cat foods, particularly types of wet patties, according to FOX 13 Tampa.
“Fortunately, in our building, we have full capacity for the next few months,” said Lon Savini, facilities manager at TBHS. “But all that’s really out there right now are shreds and pieces.”
In America, some of the most popular canned pet foods are imported from overseas, and with rising transportation and fuel costs amid inflation, supply continues to dwindle.
In 2021, global exports of pet food ingredients exceeded $1.7 billion, PFI said.
“US pet food has both a global presence and some pet food manufacturers are dependent on key foreign inputs,” PFI said. “Some ingredients have to come from abroad, due to import requirements from third countries or the simple fact that certain ingredients, especially minerals and 5 vitamins, are more abundant in some countries than in others. The success of American pet food manufacturers relies on export and import channels.”
Some pet food brands have also tripled in price over the past few months, and protein costs are rising on top of everything else.
“My roommate gets the Costco brand, so I fed him and he seems to like it more honestly, so I don’t really buy the expensive stuff anymore,” dog owner Matthew Adams told FOX 11.
As the canned pet food industry continues to work to provide consumers with all the products it can, it asks the public to buy only what is necessary.
“We encourage buyers to purchase only the amount of food they would regularly need and recommend contacting the individual business for assistance with a specific pet food product,” PFI said.