I was surprised and a little confused this week when a customer came in and told me he could not believe how well stocked our shelves were considering he had just come from the supermarket and their shelves were empty. He had expected us to be having supply issues with pet food due to the reported "national pet food shortage".
A quick Google revealed some interesting stories about how the main supermarkets (and even Pets At Home) had issued statements regarding wet food shortages for dogs and cats.
Digging a bit deeper I discovered -
Sainsburys had issued a statement saying they had run out of dog and cat pouches.
Morrisons will have little or no availability for months.
Waitrose are running low on stock and will restock ASAP.
Tesco are working with suppliers to maintain stock levels.
Asda - no official comments but reports on social media suggest their shelves are empty too.
More surprising Pets At Home had also issued a statement saying - We are seeing unprecedented demand for some of our wet food products, which may mean that your pet’s favourite food could be out of stock from time to time. We are working hard with our suppliers to resolve this situation. But in the meantime we have lots of other flavours and formats to choose from. Apologies for any inconvenience.
So why are these multi-million pound corporations low on stock?
Basically, with the exception of Pets At Home they put all their eggs in one basket. Supermarkets tend to only stock pet food made by the key players in the grocery market, Mars Petcare and Nestle-Purina.
The press reported pet food shortages at the moment only appear to be a few low grade mass produced brands, Felix, Whiskas, Gourmet and Pedigree. There has also been talk of shortages of Hills Science Plan (owned by Colgate-Palmolive) and Royal Canin (also owned by Mars).
What happens next?
Its obvious there will be disruption with supply of these brands for some time, this is being put down to changes in shopping habits and increased pet ownership during the last 12 months. But these few brands are not the ONLY pet food brands available in the UK.
The pet food industry is HUGE!! There are 1000's of brands out there, many are only stocked in independent pet retailers and for customers who only ever buy in the supermarket they may have never considered looking elsewhere or even realised there are different brands available. Now could be the time to look at your options and investigate new brands for your pet.
What this means for independent retailers and pet food manufacturers?
This is great news for independent pet food brands and their stockists. Customers will need to look for alternatives and shops like ours stock really good quality food, we offer free nutritional advice and can work to your budget or pets dietary specifications.
You may end up paying slightly more for an independent brand however as with everything price reflects quality and the difference between a min 4% meat content brand to a 85% meat content brand is incomparable. The health benefits offset the cost, strong clean teeth, glossy coats, no skin problems and healthy easy to clean up toilets. No addictive sugar or salt added to the recipes, just meaty healthy goodness...............