Retailers urged to consider wild bird staples amid predicted shortages

With the sector heading for what is usually peak wild bird season for retailers, Vital Pet Group is advising retailers to think ahead on staples, with predicted shortages on peanuts and sunflower hearts already sending shockwaves through the industry.

The peanut shortage is partly a result of a poor season in 2019 when hot, dry weather affected harvests, with significant failures and aflatoxin issues. In the case of sunflower seeds, global production fell in 2019, alongside an increase in demand.

Heather McManus, Vital’s sales and marketing director, said: “We’ve already increased our stockholding of peanuts and sunflower seed significantly in preparation for a shortfall in available stock. This should help us provide continuous supply to the trade for some time, even when other outlets may be struggling to source these products.

“We’re advising our customers to think carefully before excessive bulk buying too far ahead as these products need the right storage conditions and we can reassure them that we do hold very good stock levels. There is potential for independent retailers to become a destination for the wild bird category, so providing a rounded offer is a really great idea.”

Alongside the increased stockholding in staples, Vital has also brought on board some new suppliers including Jacobi Jayne and The Nuttery, who both supply high quality feeders. The expanded Henry Bell range is in stock too, offering a range of contemporary feeders, water dishes, seed mixes and nesting boxes. There are also a number of new lines from Peckish, including convenient pre-filled feeders.

Ms McManus said it’s a good time for retailers to build this category.

“There are some strong trends driving consumer behaviour right now, such as appreciating simple pleasures and staying close to home,” she said.

“Connecting with nature has been shown to improve wellbeing too – reducing stress and even improving health. It’s definitely a strong contender as a category that will work now and over the coming months as consumers adjust to the new normal and focus more on what is really important to them.”

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