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Media outlets are warning pet owners that they may be seeing—if they haven’t already—grocery store cost surges in pet food products such as Kibbles ‘n Bits, Milk-Bone and 9Lives. Paper products, cereal and diapers are also likely to see price hikes, according to ABC11, Central North Carolina’s ABC television station.

“Companies are paying higher freight, manufacturing and shipping fees,” ABC11 officials reported. “Products for ingredients like grain and pulp, which goes into paper products, are also more expensive than they were last year.”

Multiple factors—the pandemic, winter snow storms and production problems—have all been cited as contributing factors. Such factors were also the cause for the depleting pet food in grocery store aisles seen earlier this year. In late February, for example, Pennsylvania news outlets began reporting pet food scarcity.

Chris Anthony, manager at Country Harvest Family Market in Palmerton, Pa., told Times News in February, that his shelves of canned cat food were about 80 percent bare. Anthony pointed to some production problems with Nestlé Purina (Friskies) and the J.M. Smucker Co.

“Both of those companies are experiencing COVID-related shutdowns and production problems, as well as Nestlé Purina experienced shutdown due to the recent snowstorm; that was kind of like the final blow,” Anthony told Times News.

Additional pet food shortages were reported in early March for similar reasons. However, increased pet ownership—a phenomenon that’s been noted as more people stay at home due to shelter-in-place orders—has also driven the demand for pet food.

“Throughout the pandemic, more people have added pets to their families, driving increased demand for pet food,” PetSmart officials told WFXR, a Fox-affiliated television station licensed to Roanoke, Va., in March. “With this increase in demand, we are seeing shortages from manufacturers of wet food that are affecting our canned food supply both in our stores and online. We are committed to doing all we can to help pet parents feed and care for their pets and are actively working with our manufacturing and shipping partners to ensure supply is increased to better meet the current demand.”

The recent Suez Canal’s blockage by a cargo ship hasn’t helped financial matters either.

“Even though the maritime traffic jam caused by the Suez Canal’s blockage by a cargo ship has eased, it is costing the global supply chain $10 billion to $15 billion per day,” according to ABC11.

So, pet owners should not be surprised if their overall grocery store bill continues to increase over the next few months, according to Yahoo News.

“In 2020 food prices jumped 3.9 percent, nearly triple last year’s overall rate of inflation,” Yahoo News official said pointing to statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). “Grocery bills could rise another 3 percent this year, says the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and some experts say the price escalation won’t end there. You’ll be hankering to find food savings for a long time.”

For more of PPN's coverage on pet food shortages, read: