Pet food inflation affects lower-income owners in Mexico

Though pet owners can spend less at a time buying dry pet food in bulk, as an antidote to high inflation, pet food sold that way is more expensive overall.

More than half a million mom-and-pop pet stores in Mexico buy pet food in bulk to resell in plastic bags of one-half, one or two kilos.
More than half a million mom-and-pop pet stores in Mexico buy pet food in bulk to resell in plastic bags of one-half, one or two kilos.
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High pet food inflation in Mexico in 2022 caused two out of seven households to feed their pets with food scraps or with unpackaged dry pet food sold in bulk in small plastic bags, according to Cuauhtémoc Rivera from the National Alliance of Small Merchants (ANPEC), quoted in an article on ElUniversal.com.

This practice temporarily soared as overall pet food prices increased 20% for dogs and 16% for cats in 2022, according to a survey ANPEC carried out with pet owners. Yet, rather than offering a solution to inflation, unpackaged pet food is more expensive per kilo, making consumers pay more and, likely, impacting demand.

Correspondingly, the mom-and-pop pet sales channel in Mexico posted flat growth in the same year, according to information from Triplethree International.

Bulk pet food: Common yet more expensive

More than half a million mom-and-pop stores in the country buy pet food in large packages to resell in plastic bags of one-half, one or two kilos. They also buy dry pet food in bulk straight from local distributors.

Such a practice supposedly helps consumers spend less on pet food as they avoid having to buy large packages. On the merchant side, pet food in bulk provides higher margins per kilo. 

Reselling pet food is also business as usual in Central American markets like Guatemala and Honduras. In Guatemala, for example, prices per kilo of pet food in bulk are three times higher than that of 15 kg packages. Nonetheless, pet owners prefer paying for the pricier kilos because they can spend less at a time. 

Health risks possible, too

According to the ElUniversal.com article, selling pet food in bulk entails sanitary risks as the products may no longer be properly preserved. Bulk dry food may contain fungi or bacteria that could harm a pet’s health. Moreover, there is no expiration date for such products. As there are no norms to prevent or regulate the sale of pet food in bulk, these risks will persist.

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