Saturday, November 27

Pet food shortage causes fussy cats distress

It’s not just about toilet paper and flour – the pet food shortage has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 delta outbreak in New Zealand, which has cleared supermarket shelves faster than normal.

Cat food is running out in this Pak'nSave

Cat food is running out in this Pak’nSave
Photo: RNZ / Tom Kitchin

Global shipping challenges have led to less pet food in the aisles for a few months, but shoppers say items are becoming even more limited as they rush above high alert levels.

Watties Managing Director Neil Heffer said demand for his company has increased for its cat food brands, such as Chef, in recent weeks.

“We have seen an increase in demand for cat food in particular, almost 20 percent at this time last year,” Heffer said.

“We think that’s related to supply shortages. We are quite fortunate to be able to produce all of our pet food locally, but unfortunately for some of our competitors they have to bring pet food from abroad and obviously from around the world. Limitations. shipping costs and challenges in global supply chains, leading to some shortages on the shelves.

“That shortage that we expect will likely give some people cause for concern, so they might be buying a little more than they normally buy.”

Watties did not close above Alert Level 4, but had to socially distance staff, provide PPE, and have work bubbles.

A spokesperson for Mars, which has brands like Whiskas, Iams, Dine and Royal Canin, said they had seen an increase in pet populations around the world in the past 12-24 months.

Pet food shortage increases due to the Covid-19 delta outbreak in Aotearoa in this Pak'n Save.

Pet food shortage increases due to the Covid-19 delta outbreak in Aotearoa in this Pak’n Save.
Photo: RNZ / Tom Kitchin

“The challenges of Covid-19 and the lockdowns have caused more people to welcome pets into their families, recognizing the benefits of companionship and enjoyment that pets bring us. This has put pressure on pet food manufacturing capacity. all over the world and also on supply chains to bring products to market.

“Additionally, global shipping challenges have meant delays in the delivery of some pet food products to New Zealand (similar to the challenges faced by many other products and industries). While there may be delays in the supply of particular products and, So at times Unable to source their favorite brand or product, there is no shortage of pet food in New Zealand and there are plenty of options for pet owners to keep their favorite furry friends well fed.

“We know this can be frustrating for pet owners, and we are all doing everything we can to make our pet’s favorite foods available as quickly as possible.”

New Zealand Pet Food Manufacturers Association Executive Director Richard Brake said the shortage can be stressful for pet owners.

“In our industry, our pet owners feel these stockouts quite acutely. In the relationship with the animal, they have become accustomed to a certain brand or certain flavor and when that is not available it causes a bit of distress. Pets are generally not very fond of changes. “

Foodstuffs New Zealand’s director of corporate affairs, Antoinette Laird, said the global supply chain had been “uneven” for about 18 months.

“Depending on how long this lasts, we expect intermittent delays on some imported products to continue for some time. To ensure that all New Zealanders get what they need, we encourage everyone to #shop normally.”

Woolworths New Zealand, which operates Countdown supermarkets, did not respond to a request for comment before the deadline.

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