In the wake of the current pandemic, the pet food industry doesn’t seem to be experiencing the same setbacks as other food related services and providers. While the initial uptick in the purchase of pet food has tapered off as the months of quarantine have lingered on, pet food companies are still looking to keep up with the increased demand.
In a recent survey from Pet Food Processing, 44% of pet food companies stated that they have seen an increase in production in comparison to the previous year. Only 16% claimed to have not seen any change at all, and those who have seen large or small reductions in production rest at 22% and 12% respectively. As for the remaining 6%, their production is similar to last year’s, but they have encountered “wide fluctuation in demand.”
One area that has benefited from the current situation is e-commerce. 58% of pet food companies have seen an increase in e-commerce sales during the pandemic. As the quarantine rolled on through the early months of the year, more people have stayed inside, forgoing the in-store shopping experience and shopping online. More pet food providers have embraced the changes, with 26% of those who took the survey saying they have created an e-commerce platform for purchases.
While the pandemic has created many unique opportunities for the pet food industry, it has also seen a fair share of shortcomings. In the beginning of the pandemic, 50% of pet food companies saw a decrease in their supply chains. However, that number has dropped to 23% as the months passed. The pandemic has decimated multiple supply chains, with disruptions increasing by 71% since March of this year.
Another point of importance has been the safety of workers during the pandemic. Much like other food production companies, the pet food industry has put a heightened emphasis towards the health and pandemic procedures. Strict enforcement of rules like social distancing and the use of proper protective equipment have been paramount in keeping employees safe during the pandemic. Other measures have included the ability to work from home when available and limiting facility access and employee travel. The vast majority of the pet food providers in the survey have stated they will continue to maintain these added safeguards, with 54% looking to keep them up to six months into the future, 21% up to 12 months and 32% forever.
Ultimately, the pet food industry looks to have the pandemic figured out for the most part. Most of the surveyed companies look to emerge from the situation better than before, with only 21% believe they’ll be weaker because of it.