Because pet food can become scarce in a crisis
High gas and meat costs are a problem for pet food production. Nestlé is considering alternatives to dog meat.
Berlin. The looming energy crisis and the war in Ukraine are already driving up gas and food prices. But the crisis doesn’t just affect us humans: High meat and production costs also create them Production of pet food before a problem. One manufacturer is already working on meat-free alternatives for dogs.
Like Hubert Wieser, managing director of the German branch of the pet food company Nestle Purina, the industry newspaper “Lebensmittel-Zeitung” explained, the group is preparing a production change. “The composition of pet foods will change significantly in the future,” says Wieser. It also refers to the use of alternative proteins.
Because of the high meat prices and reducing the supply of byproducts from conventional meat production, Nestlé has been working on new formulations for months, says Wieser. Securing the supply of raw materials “has become a huge task”.
Ukrainian crisis – all the news about the conflict
Natural gas crisis: Running out of food for millions of pets?
For 35 million pets in German households this could become a problem. The approximately 16 million cats and ten million dogs in Germany alone eat mainly meat from production residues. Alternative feed models are difficult or impossible to implement, depending on the species.
The fact that meat by-products are now becoming scarce is not only due to energy prices, but also partly to the consumption of citizens: due to the lower price meat consumption Society also had fewer byproducts than industry, Wieser explains.
Exclusively without meat However, feed is not what it’s supposed to be: Nestlé itself is working with insects and fermented proteins so far, but it’s also working with startups that mix cell-cultured fish into feed, for example. With these considerations in mind, the group is reacting to many crises at once – whether logistical, financial or climate-related.
A lower proportion of meat or meat-free alternatives also reduce this carbon footprint of the companies, Wieser emphasized in an interview with “Lebensmittel-Zeitung”. Meat alternatives are also part of the company’s sustainability strategy. However, in view of the impending energy crisis, the feed industry should take advantage of new alternatives for other reasons as well.
The natural gas crisis is making fodder production extremely expensive
Because in addition to the costs of sourcing the meat, those for its processing also increase: the production of pet food is energy-intensive, explains Johannes Steegmann, CEO of Fressnapf Group, in “Zeit Magazin”. Moreover, it is almost entirely from natural gas dependent.
In fact, government regulations require meat and vegetables to be keep to be heated to high temperatures. This requires gas, which cannot be easily saved or replaced.
So what would happen if the gas really ran out in the winter? At worst, it could energy shortages and a prioritization, as proposed by Federal Finance Minister Robert Habeck (Greens), to stop production. And this is a big concern for the pet industry.
Gas crisis: 70 percent of feed may be missing in case of congestion
“In the event that feed production in Germany is curtailed or even stopped due to the cessation of natural gas deliveries, almost 70 percent of feed will be missing from the market,” wrote representatives of pet industry In mid-July in a letter to the federal government. Price hikes are already posing huge challenges to the industry.
In the end, this could even have consequences for the German population: if pet owners lack of food would fall back on meat from the food industry, there would be a bottleneck in the supply of meat for the population.
Federal Minister of Agriculture Cem Özdemir (Greens) had already proved that people would receive the advance in such a case: he had recently complained that 60 percent of grain production in Germany is fed to livestock. “If you could use some of it for human nutrition, we would have gained space,” Özdemir told RTL and ntv television channels.
The pet industry wants to be included in critical infrastructure
Even before such political considerations, the pet industry is now demanding that energy distribution bottlenecks be prioritized: “We ask you […] pet industry (special trade and industry) […] as critical infrastructure to be taken into account”, the associations request in their letter.
The federal government has reportedly reacted to this in the meantime. In reply from Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL), which is available to “Zeit Online”, means that the ministry deals with the facts and requirements of the Animal Welfare Act. BMEL is also in contact with the Federal Network Agency.
Like so many things, the offer and the price evolution not sure at this time about pet food, but currently there is no acute shortage. If you are still worried, you can add two more cans of food to the shopping cart when you shop. Dogs and cats are sure to be happy with the extra food, even if there is no crisis. (reba with dpa)
This article first appeared on morgenpost.de.