Looking for your pet’s food? SO ARE WE! Over the last few years we have seen an interesting phenomenon occur with our supply chains. The pet food industry has definitely been impacted in more ways then one. Braxton’s has been helping pet parents navigate these difficult times. We seek to help ease the anxieties of finding food alternatives or temporary substitutions. We wanted to breakdown some of these issues, and also review some tips to help give you peace of mind during difficult times. If you or someone you know has not been able to consistently find pet food brands such as Pro Plan; Hill’s Science Diet; Natural Balance or Royal Canin, Braxton’s has some ideas that may help.
Cause and Concern
Manufacturers lost a major source of pet food ingredients early in the pandemic, when many hospitality businesses and others connected to human food production were closed for public safety. Simultaneously, we seen an influx of pet ownership when people began working from home. According to the American Pet Products Association, 12.6 million households adopted a new pet between March and December 2020. Today’s pet food producers continue to face ingredient shortages, extended production lead times and significant price hikes for processing technology, ingredients, and transportation.
Tips For Dealing with Supply Chain Issues
We often encourage rotating your pet’s food every 3-6 months across proteins sources and brands to help prevent your pet from developing intolerances to ingredients. We also do this to encourage proper nutrient consumption. Most pet foods are complete and balanced. Food components, on the other hand, have unique nutritional profiles. Various components such as amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids can be found in varying concentrations in different types of foods. By combining specific complete diets at regular intervals, rotational feeding allows your pet to get the benefits of two or more proteins and nutrients.
Keeping a Back Up Supply
Dry food and canned food has an exceptionally long shelf life if they remain sealed, typically between 12-24 months from manufacture date. As a common practice, we encourage our customers to have two weeks stock of food in their home at all times. Despite the supply chain issues, here in Pennsylvania, we are subject to winter storms that can prevent people from getting out and running errands. There are also weeks where we experience small supply disruptions with brands and work to resolve those issues as quickly as possible, so having a back stock of food in your home can help get you through minor disruptions.
Research Similar Brands
There are SO MANY BRANDS of food within the pet food industry. Finding a brand that has similar processing practices or sourcing can be quiet easy. If you are looking to switch your pet’s food, but stay with a similar formula, look at the first five ingredients of the food you are feeding. The first five ingredients make up approximately 80% of the food and can be a great analysis if a different brand’s formula is similar enough to make it an easy transition.
Review Brand’s Sourcing Practices
Reviewing brands and their sourcing or manufacturing practices can help you anticipate if they will have outages. Any food that markets their food as “Human Grade” has to be manufactured in USDA certified manufacturing plants. These plants usually produce other products for humans that may receive priority. Ingredients are another issue. Some ingredients are very difficult to be sourced in the United States. Knowing if primary ingredients are being sourced from over-seas might be a good indicator their could be supply chain disruption. Canning foods has also been an issue. Companies that have their food canned in other countries and shipped back to the U.S. have seen huge supply chain issues. The wet cat food cans have seen the biggest impact of this disruption. Knowing if certain brands own their own canneries can be a good sign that they can control the output of their product.
Talk with an Associate
We encourage you to talk with one of our associates if you can’t find your pet’s food. We are excellent at all the above tips! And if all else fails, we have a lot of contacts within the industry. We can reach out to other retailers or manufacturers to get you solutions. We always want you to trust and shop with us, but more importantly we don’t want anyone going hungry!
What Braxton’s Is Doing to Help
Checking with Manufacturers
We are in constant contact with the brands we carry at Braxton’s. We have a direct contact, to each brand we carry and getting answers from them when something back orders is always a top priority.
When items backorder, we can occasionally work with other suppliers to get the products the following week. (If they have it in stock!) Sometimes, none of our suppliers have anything in stock if the issue is at the manufacturing level.
Working with Pet Parents to find Solutions
We train our staff members to have a wide array of solutions to offer our customers. Braxton’s staff is not only trained in pet nutrition. Our staff has a deep understanding of manufacturing and how supply chain is affected when certain stages are disrupted. If you ever have concerns, we want you to feel comfortable coming to us and having a conversation about your concerns as a pet parent.
We know that all of this can be incredibly frustrating. Braxton’s will always be here to help pet owners through the highs and lows. The next time you are in Braxton’s and you have concerns about your pet’s food, talk with one of our associates about some of the solutions we discussed above. The most important thing we want to reiterate is not to panic. As long as Braxton’s doors are open, we will be here to talk.