‘Petflation’ slows in April, falling 50% below national CPI

The -50% national CPI is a big change from the +52% in January.

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Pet food inflation is still here, but slowing, according to John Gibbons of PetBusinessProfessor.com in his latest April 2024 report.  April came in at 45% below the average for the month while also being 50% lower than the national CPI, the same as it was back in 2021.

Total pet inflation fell from 3.8% in March 2024 to 1.7% in April 2024.

The YOY national Consumer Price Index (CPI) rate of 3.4% is down, just 69% of the 22>23 rate and 41% of the 21>22. In all pet categories, the 23>24 rate is below the 22>23 rates.

In April, pet food prices were down -0.2% from March.

2022 compared to 2024

  • U.S. CPI – Prices are +0.4% from March. The YOY increase is 3.4%, down from 3.5%. It peaked at +9.1% back in June 2022. The targeted inflation rate is <2% so we are still 70% higher than the target.

“After 12 straight declines, we had 2 lifts, a stable month, 2 consecutive drops, now 2 of 5 with drops – still not good!” said Gibbons.

 The current rate is 31% below 22>23 but the 21>24 rate is still 17.4%, 76.7% of the total inflation since 2019. Inflation was low in early 2021.

  • Pet food – Prices are -0.5% vs march and -0.1% vs April 23, down from +1.8%. Now, they are significantly below the Food at Home inflation rate, +1.1%. The YOY drop of -0.1% is being measured against a time when prices were 22.3% above the 2019 level and the current decrease is now below the -0.02% drop from 2020 to 2021. The 2021>2024 inflation surge has generated 94.1% of the total 23.9% inflation since 2019.

YTD -- 2022 compared to 2024

  • U.S. CPI – The 23>24 rate is 3.3%, up from 3.2% in March, but down 41% from 22>23 and 59% less than 21>22. It is also 21% below the average YOY increase from 2019>2024, but it’s still 68% more than the average annual increase from 2018>2021. 78% of the 22.7% inflation since 2019 occurred from 2021>24.
  • Pet food – YTD inflation is 2.2%, down from 3.0% in March and 85% less than the 22>23 rate. Now, it is also 54% lower than 21>22 and only 16% above the average rate from 2018>2020. Pet Food has the highest 22>23 rate on the chart and remains in second place in the 21>24 rates. Deflation in the first half of 2021 kept YTD prices low then prices surged in 2022 and especially in 2023. 92% of the inflation since 2019 occurred from 2021>24.

Update: Pet food producer price index (PPI)

While the retail prices usually mirror the dog and cat PPI they peaked in May 2023, fell slightly in July>Aug, turned up in Sep/Oct, flattened in Nov, then fell in Dec>Feb 2024. In March 2024 they turned up and unexpectedly fell in April. Coming despite a small 0.9% PPI lift in February 2024.

Dog canned/wet food is the primary driver in the price surge and is 2.0% in Mar/Apr 2024 versus Mar/Apr 2023, according to Gibbons.

Prices only increased <1% since March 2023, showing 13 months of stability.

“All but Canned & Dry Dog food have converged around 30+% from Dec 19,” said Gibbons. “Was this small increase the Spring lift starting even earlier than in 23? Normally, the lift starts in May, lasts for 2 months then prices stabilize for 8 months. In 2023, a 1-month lift happened in March and prices were stable for 10 months.”

The “Other pet food” category is -7.9% from April 2023. The category continues to fall over time, in comparison to the 12.2% from April 2021 and 22.0% from April 2019.

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