Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Pet food shortages cause angst for fussy felines
September 14, 2021. There are 15 new cases of Covid-19 in the community today – and all have been linked to other cases in the outbreak. Video / NZ Herald
By Tom Kitchin from RNZ
It’s not just toilet paper and flour – pet food shortages have been exacerbated during the Covid-19 delta outbreak in New Zealand, emptying supermarket shelves faster than the normal.
Global shipping challenges have resulted in a decrease in pet food in the aisles for a few months, but shoppers say items become even more limited during high alert levels.
Wattie chief executive Neil Heffer said demand for cat food brands, such as Chef, has increased in recent weeks.
“[It’s] up almost 20% from the same period last year, ”Heffer said.
“We believe this is related to the scarcity of supply. We are fortunate in being able to produce all of our pet food locally, but unfortunately for some of our competitors they have to import pet food from overseas. , and obviously with the world shipping constraints and challenges in global supply chains, which has led to some shortages.
“This expected scarcity is probably going to worry some people, so they might buy a little more than they usually do.”
Wattie’s did not close Alert Level 4, but had to socially estrange staff, provide PPE and have work bubbles.
A spokesperson for Mars, owner of Whiskas, Iams, Dine and Royal Canin, said pet populations have increased around the world in the past 12 to 24 months.
“The challenges of Covid-19 and lockdowns have seen more and more people welcoming pets to their families, recognizing the benefits of companionship and the fun that pets bring us. This has put pressure on pet food manufacturing capacity around the world, as well as supply chains. to bring the products to market.
“In addition, global shipping issues have resulted in delays in getting some pet food products to New Zealand. New Zealand pet food shortage and there are plenty of options for pet parents to properly feed their favorite furry friends.
“We know this can be frustrating for pet parents, and we all do our best to get our pet’s favorite foods back into stock as quickly as possible.”
New Zealand Pet Food Manufacturers Association chief executive Richard Brake said shortages can be stressful for pet owners.
“Parents of animals feel these stockouts quite acutely. In the relationship with the animal, they have become accustomed to a certain brand or a certain flavor and, when it is not available, it causes a little anxiety. Usually pets don’t. I don’t like change too much. “
Antoinette Laird, head of corporate affairs at Foodstuffs New Zealand, said the global supply chain has been “irregular” for about 18 months.
“Depending on the length of this operation, we would expect intermittent delays on some imported products to continue for some time. To make sure all New Zealanders get what they need, we encourage everyone. world to make normal purchases. “
Woolworths New Zealand, which operates Countdown supermarkets, did not respond to a request for comment on time.