Like the food industry, the pet food industry is also experiencing the impact of the pandemic. Several countries in the world have listed pet food as an essential activity, so many facilities have had to hire extra staff and adjust operations in the face of increased demand for food, either due to prevention and excess stock of the owners as well as the increase of purchase / adoption of pets.

In this article, we will tell you what are the challenges that the industry must face related to the changes produced by the pandemic.

In context: catering is for pets too

Fearing sudden lockdowns and the waves of infections that seem to happen over and over again, people began stocking up so they wouldn't run out of food. The same goes for your pets' food. Almost 65% of consumers say they have enough stock to feed their pet for at least 3 to 4 weeks. At the industrial level, this type of behavior causes a sales boom in a short period of time.

Sales were shot between 100 and 250% more than the previous year, depending on the geographical area and the impact suffered by the coronavirus.

It can be said that the more restrictions due to COVID there are in a city or area, the greater the increase in sales for fear of possible confinement.

As of March 20, and compared to the same period last year, overall pet store sales were up 92% as pet owners scrambled to stock up. In some of the worst affected areas, sales were significantly higher.

For example, on the same date, New York City pet shops experienced a 260% increase in sales.

As Amy Patteron, General Manager of Petsource by Scoular, states:

"Even in uncertain times, people want to spoil their pets and feed them quality food."

Increase in adoptions

Today, there is no scientific evidence to ensure that pets spread COVID-19. This, together with the way in which many people worldwide had to re-engage with their work contributed to the increase in the adoption of dogs and cats in search of companionship and both emotional and mental support during the pandemic and mandatory confinements.

The ASPCA saw a 70% increase in parenting programs from its New York City and Los Angeles programs. And some shelters have even been able to completely empty their kennels of pet waiting for adoption.

Main changes in the pet food industry in the post-pandemic

Increase in online sales

This trend was seen in practically all areas of consumption, and pet food was no exception. There was an increase of up to 400% in traffic in online pet shops.

It is uncertain how long this boom will continue or if it is here to stay, but in response to the increase in demand, many companies and pet food suppliers find it necessary to boost their production in order to meet demand. This is also reflected in the number of personnel hired in the sector.

New business models in electronic commerce

Electronic commerce was boosted in the pandemic due to the total or partial closure of physical stores to avoid crowds, either due to prevention or imposition of governments and, consequently, this behavior is also seen in the sale of pet food.

However, exponential growth in a very short period of time led to the collapse of many of the electronic businesses that did not cope with either the delivery logistics or the stock, presenting up to more than a week of delay in delivery. Of purchases.

As a result, different options were implemented to resolve the problems that occurred spontaneously, such as:

• Many companies producing pet food offer withdrawal in large hypermarkets.

Glovo, Rappi and Uber have taken sides by being able to offer the withdrawal and delivery of food in a shorter period of time than that offered, in many cases, by the online stores themselves.

As a consequence of this change in consumption, a new challenge is presented: to use, now more than ever, marketing and packaging in our favor. The presentation of the products must be the best to communicate their importance and their differential, especially when physical contact with the product itself has been so reduced and we have to "go through the screens" to convince the consumer.

Safety and hygiene protocols in pet food: stricter than ever

The pet food industry has been working under strict hygiene standards for a long time, but many producers have taken extreme measures and adapted production processes to minimize contact between their collaborators throughout the production process.

Some of the measures adopted are: strengthening and communicating good hygiene practices, limiting direct contact between employees and carriers, carrying out complete sanitation and eliminating contact with personnel during shift changes.

What was the positive impact of the coronavirus on the pet food industry?

Through donations of money or pet food, many more businesses in the industry have pledged to help animal rescue organizations, homeless shelters, food pantries and struggling communities during these difficult times.

"We encourage each and every company offering essential pet products to get involved and help out locally."

Lanny Viegut, owner of Carnivore Meat Company.

The pandemic caused economic problems around the world and consumers of pet food may have changed their spending patterns as their income affected. However, the humanization of pets even increased during the pandemic due to this heightened sense of "company", which is why the impact of reduced spending perceived by the pet food industry has been minimal.

Without a doubt, we consider that the great positive impact of the pandemic is the acceleration of processes that, at times, in some industries, can be difficult to incorporate.

In Latin America, the step that has been taken regarding the insertion of production companies and pet shops in the digital world has been immense, and we consider that it is an impulse that should not be wasted and, on the contrary, we must take care of promoting the insertion in the digital market.

In conclusion

No matter how much you refuse, getting on the digital and online shopping revolution is something that all companies and stores must succumb to if they want, in a world as uncertain as it is productive, to survive the changes and trends to come.

By: All Pet Food

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