Enrichment Arts & Culture

Pet owners are struggling to find pet food amid supply chain woes

a cat and two dogs sit on a couch in a home
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Story at a glance

  • Many grocery stores around the country are struggling to stock their shelves with pet food.
  • Supply chain problems along with labor and material shortages have struck the pet food industry.
  • Some owners have resorted to making their own pet food.

The supply chain crisis strikes again, and this time it’s targeting the furry creatures that have helped keep many people sane during the pandemic, as reports of pet food shortages roll in from around the country.

As companies experience shortages of labor and materials, as well as logistics hurdles, it’s affecting the supply of pet food. This comes as pet ownership across the U.S. skyrockets.

According to the American Pet Products Association, pet ownership in 2021 increased to about 70 percent, and in a survey, 35 percent of pet owners said they’re spending more on their pet and pet supplies, including food, over the last 12 months.

That’s now being reflected in grocery stores, with The Wall Street Journal reporting that pet food sales grew almost 7 percent over the past 52 weeks, ending Nov. 27, compared to 2.3 percent for food overall. 


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Many supermarkets are unable to secure substitute items too, leaving pet food shelves empty. According to WSJ, J.M. Smuckers Co. notified its retailers back in November that it would be limiting shipments of some of its pet-food products through January 2023. The company cited supply chain challenges of wet food, which typically uses imported ingredients.

That’s a big issue for pet owners, as many animals require prescribed food or have dietary restrictions. When pets are forced to change their typical brand or flavor of food, it can cause physical reactions.

USA Today also reported that shipping problems and aluminum shortages have also contributed to the pet food shortage, with wet cat food listed as the top items consumers have been struggling to find.

Some pet owners have resorted to making food for their pets themselves, which may or may not be accepted by one’s pet.

It’s not clear when supply chain issues will be resolved and when things like pet food will retain their normal volume and resume regular shipments.


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