The coronavirus crisis has caused a spike in pet food sales as people are panic buying food for their pets, according to a report by CNN.
Pet food has joined the ranks of toilet paper and hand sanitizer as must-have items as people stock up to make sure that their pets are fed during the pandemic.
Dog food sales are up 54 percent and cat food sales are up 52 percent when compared to a week ago, according to Nielsen data. Pet supply sales also spiked 24 percent.
General Mills, which owns Blue Buffalo pet food, said people just want to make sure their pets are provided for.
“People love their pets and they want to make sure they take care of their pets,” General Mills CEO Jeff Harmening said.
While pets aren’t eating any more than usual, according to analysts, sales of pet food at Costco, Walmart and Petco have all gone up. Petco has decided to stay open during the crisis, saying that it accounts for almost 33 percent of all dog and cat food sales in the country, as well as half of sales of fish and other pet food.
“Mass retailers and grocery stores simply can’t feed all our pets,” a Petco spokesperson said. Petco is among the firms offering employee assistance during the coronavirus crisis.
Online pet food sales are also up.
Both Amazon and online pet supply retailer Chewy are “benefiting as consumers shop from the confines of their homes,” Moody’s said in a weekly report.
Because of the uptick in sales, Chewy said it’s going to hire 6,000 new employees to keep up with the increased demand.
Even though other stocks, and the market as a whole, are struggling, shares in Chewy are up 10 percent, and stocks in PetMed Express, which owns 1800PetMeds, are up 4 percent.
Pet supplies and pet care are a growing market, and retailers like Walmart have taken notice by adding vet clinics and starting online pet pharmacies.
About 67 percent of households in the country have at least one pet.