The Pet Food Institute is a lobbying group for the pet food industry. Its president and CEO, Dana Brooks, says that the issues that are affecting the supply chain will continue through this year and into 2023. The organization is working to fix these problems and create a more efficient supply chain. Brooks says that more transparency is needed in the pet food industry, and the supply chain needs to be more transparent. Brooks is also worried about human slavery, aluminum shortages, and the cost of ingredients.
Human slavery in pet food supply chain
Pet food companies are facing increased scrutiny because of stories about forced labor and human slaves. One recent class action suit filed against Mars, Procter & Gamble, and the Lams Company alleges that the companies knowingly used fish caught by slaves in Thailand. Consumers are feeling duped into supporting human rights violations by purchasing pet food. While the companies may be aware of the issue, they are still not doing enough to ensure that it does not happen in their supply chains.
One such lawsuit, filed by the Hagens Berman law firm, says that several pet food companies are knowingly importing ingredients from Thai slaves. If the companies were responsible for their products, they would not sell seafood-based food to consumers. The companies should rethink their supply chain practices and include “humane and fair trade” in their labels. The lack of traceability makes it difficult for pet food companies to know exactly where their ingredients come from.
Cost of ingredients
The cost of ingredients in pet foods has been increasing since the 1990s, with most sources of these nutrients originating in the U.S. But it is not just the animal proteins that are increasing in price, but also the cost of grain, vegetable and animal protein sources. The cost of these ingredients has increased by an average of 15 to 20 percent, with the final consumer paying the full cost. It is still unclear how the market will react to these increases, but the trends from the year 2020 indicate a higher demand for products that cost less. One state contributing the highest amounts of protein in pet food is Missouri, with over five million metric tons of feed value.
As for the cost of ingredients in pet foods, companies must pay for the research and development of a recipe, laboratory testing and packaging, as well as state fees and product return costs. But the price of food ingredients in pet food doesn’t just stop there. The FDA allows pet food manufacturers to use waste ingredients that would otherwise be discarded, so the cost of creating a high-quality product is much higher than the cost of using inferior quality ingredients.
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The current aluminum shortage in the U.S. is the result of increased demand. The demand is growing in both the U.S. and around the world. The factors causing the spike in demand include a pandemic, a labor shortage, and an ongoing supply chain crisis. Added to that, China’s ongoing pollution crackdown is affecting the aluminum industry. Regardless of the cause, aluminum shortages in the pet food supply chain are a problem for manufacturers. The latest victim of the aluminum shortage is canned cat food. Aluminum can prices have skyrocketed, making specialty canned cat foods increasingly difficult to find. Some grocery stores are discontinuing entire brands, including Trader Joe’s and Target. Other chains have reduced their offerings. Trader Joe’s, a popular grocery chain, recently pulled four canned cat food brands and two brands of canned dog food. Despite these problems, the demand for cat food remains high.