MONROVIA, CALIF. — Supply chain disruptions are nothing new in the pet food industry, however COVID-19, labor shortages and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have created an extremely volatile supply chain.

As ingredients become scarce, packaging becomes limited and the labor shortage continues, pet food processors, distributors and retailers have all witnessed a lack of supply. And skyrocketing demand only heightens the issue.

Grocery chain Trader Joe’s is the latest to experience such disruptions in its supply chain, affecting its wet pet food products. Though the company’s focus is primarily human food, Trader Joe’s also produces some pet food products. However, with the strained supply chain, Trader Joe’s has been forced to discontinue most of its pet food.

In a recent announcement, the company discontinued its Ocean Fish, Salmon & Rice Dinner Premium Cat Food; Turkey & Giblets Dinner Premium Cat Food; Grain Free Salmon Recipe Cat Food; Grain Free Turkey Recipe Cat Food; Grain Free Beef Recipe Dog Food; and Grain Free Chicken Recipe Dog Food.

According to Trader Joe’s, the discontinuation of all its canned pet foods is due to “inconsistent availability and ongoing sourcing issues.”

Sourcing issues are not just hitting Trader Joe’s but are proving detrimental to several other pet food companies. The J.M Smucker Company, Hill’s Pet Nutrition and The Honest Kitchen all detailed sourcing and supply chain issues, some so disruptive they have led to price hikes.

In its Q1 financial report, Colgate-Palmolive, parent company of Hill’s Pet Nutrition, announced it would be raising prices to combat an increase in raw material costs. In a series of company updates, The Honest Kitchen announced it would be increasing its prices after struggling to absorb rising costs in ingredients, packaging, labor and transportation for more than a year.

To provide some stability to the ever-changing supply chain, which COVID-19 and the crisis in Ukraine have only exacerbated, the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) and the Pet Advocacy Network, along with more than 130 manufacturing organizations, signed a letter urging Congress to ratify the America COMPETES Act. The ratification would help bolster manufacturers throughout a variety of industries and provide some financial assistance to help them overcome continued supply disruptions.

But, until Congress agrees to ratify the America COMPETES Act, the entire manufacturing industry, along with pet food, will only continue to try and overcome today’s unstable supply chain.

In Pet Food Processing’s March edition, several pet food experts provided guidance on how pet food companies can navigate the supply chain.

Read more about supply chain topics affecting the industry on our Operations page.