Kibble sales fluctuate with pandemic; Treats up late April

By the week ending March 21, dry pet food sales in 28-pound or larger bags had climbed 74% compared to that same third week in March 2019.

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(Image by Andrea Gantz)
(Image by Andrea Gantz)

Year-over-year kibble sales growth hovered near zero or negative in the United States during February. Pet treats and wet pet food increased somewhat compared to the same time last year, ranging from 4-7% growth year-over-year. That data on pet food retail sales, including pet specialty, e-commerce and mass markets, came from Sean Simpson, associate client director at Nielsen Global Connect, during a Petfood Industry webinar.

Dry pet food sales during COVID-19 pandemic

Then the pandemic spurred pet owners to stock up on food for their dogs, cats and other animals. Dry pet food sales shot up, with the largest growth in the largest bags. By the week ending March 21, dry pet food sales in 28-pound or larger bags had climbed 74% compared to that same third week in March 2019. Sales of those largest dry pet food bags had already grown 55% the previous week.

Overall, dry pet food sales grew 0.2% in the week ending February 29. That grew to 4% the next week, then shot up to 47% year-over-year growth in the next week. The third week of March saw the largest growth, hitting 64%. As March ended, so did pandemic stockpiling, as kibble sales decline by 10% below the previous year’s performance.  Sales continued to decline, staying at 20-21% below 2019’s sales growth in the first three weeks of April.

Wet pet food and treats saw similar though lower sales growth and decline trends. However, as April ended, pet treat sales grew 9% year-over-year, while both dry and wet food continued to decline. Learn more details about pet food sales during the COVID-19 pandemic with Petfood Industry webinar.

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