Saturday 18 December 2021

Pet food supply shortages in USA late 2021

ABC News tells me that there is a pet food supply shortage in Ohio as at December 2021. They report that the Pause & Whiskers cat shelter in Toledo, Ohio has seen a drop of 75% in cat food donations. Sara Baker, the shelter manager, said that there is a global supply chain and production issue and stores such as Pet Supplies Plus are affected. That company anticipates shortages into 2023. I decided to check it out to see whether there are other sources providing us with the same news.

Pet food supply shortages in USA late 2021
Pet food supply shortages in USA late 2021. Photo in public domain.

The website Green Matters states that officially there are no food shortages as at October 15, 2021 in the USA. That news comes from the USDA. However, a business strategy expert, Xavier Naville, said that there are disruptions in the supply chain. In an interview on October 14, he said that the shortages result from a combination of increased demand (an increase of 13% according to the USDA compared to last year) and a tightening in the supply.

So this is a supply and demand issue. Demand is up and supply is down. This means that some items are hard to find. Human food is also affected.

Why is supply down? There appears to be two factors. The yield in many crops is down due to climate change. Another website tells me that dry cat food supplies are down because corn supplies are down. In addition, there have been structural changes at food processing factories and slaughterhouses many of which are following social distancing guidelines. This slows production.

An uncomfortable reality is that there's too much waste in the developed countries generally of food in general including pet food and human food. As per Feeding America 108 billion pounds or 40% of all food is wasted in America every year. That takes a bit of digesting 😉.

The Green Matters website states that pet food is in short supply. There are empty shelves across the US and food shortage fears. They say that the pet food supply chain is facing issues as at October this year. 

Reuters reported that both dog and cat food prices have increased by up to 20% between the beginning of the Covid pandemic and July 2021. The reason? Higher labour and transportation costs and rising prices of corn, meet and soybeans. In addition, there has been an increase in pet adoptions so there are more mouths to feed.

The UK has matched the USA in this regard. There has been a surge in pet adoptions beginning in the early days of the Covid pandemic and continuing throughout 2020 and this year. Some of these adoptions have been irresponsible.

Supply chain issues are affecting other goods as well. President Biden has commented on it in a speech delivered on Wednesday, October 13.

Tip: arguably this is a good time to consider home-made raw cat food. I'm sure the ingredients for that can be obtained readily. So the only issue is whether you can be precise and careful enough to make it to a high standard and also store it to a high standard. There might be a silver lining. You might see the health of your cat or dog improve. You might stay off commercially prepared cat food indefinitely. But please be careful. Veterinarians think that cat owners are not able to make their own home-made raw cat food to a sufficient standard. There are some pitfalls. You simply have to ensure that the required nutrients are included. Please do your research thoroughly. Your efforts may be rewarded. But don't take risks.

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