Starting early in the pandemic, people in the United States rapidly
increased their rate of home poultry ownership.
In the early stages of the pandemic, pet food brands and their suppliersexperienced both a demand surge as pet owners stocked quarantine rations andan overall pet food market size increase as people obtained new fur babies andfeathered friends to keep them company during lock down. While many peopleresorted to talking to their new pets during weeks of isolation, only some ofthem could talk back.
“With more people being at home, the bird category has realized some nicegrowth in 2020 as new bird owners came into the market,” Gary Rubin, ChiefOperating Officer, TOP’s Parrot Food, said. “We had many new bird ownerscontact us and explain how they were first-time ‘parronts’ and wanted to findhigh-quality food. Like other pet food companies, TOP’s experienced a hugesales surge in March and April. It was certainly a wild time to be in the petfood business. Customers were buying three and four times the usual amountsbecause of all the sudden uncertainty. March was the best sales month to datein the company’s history. Luckily, our growth curve has continued to climbeven as the panic buying has calmed down.”
In July, TOP’s relocated its corporate offices, production facility andfulfillment center. Although TOP’s had planned expansions to their productioncapacity before COVID-19 lockdowns began, the increased capacity came in handyas the pandemic spread.
“TOP’s Parrot Food’s new facility has allowed our production capacity totriple so we can keep up with demand,” Rubin said. “In addition, our warehousespace has increased by five times from our previous location, which allows usto inventory more products and better serve our customers. Overall, the newspace has provided room to continue to grow as a company.”
Backyard poultry ownership rising during pandemic
Starting early in the pandemic, people in the United States rapidly increasedtheir rate of home poultry ownership, reported NPR. Many hatcheries foundthemselves overwhelmed as people looked to both secure their own source ofeggs and gain new companions. The American Association of Retired Peoplereported that some Americans were looking to rental services to provide thecompanionship and consumables of backyard hens with less long-term commitment.
For the first time, the American Pet Product Association included questionsabout backyard chicken flocks in its 2019-2020 U.S. pet ownership survey. InAPPA’s survey of 10,090 current pet owners, 10% reported owning backyardchickens, which equated to approximately 10 million U.S. households. Owners ofother pets were more likely to own poultry. Households with young childrenalso were more likely to have poultry pets with 12% of respondents versus 6%in homes without little kids.
Hens may have started out as functional backyard egg-layers, but have begunfulfilling roles traditionally held by traditional pets. Eight out of 10 henhouseholds reported considering their poultry to be pets. As hens becomefeather babies, owners may build emotional attachments and humanize the hens,although health and sanitary concerns mean poultry will likely never snuggleat owners’ feet in the night.
Source:Tim Wall Pet Food Industry
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