News Wholesaler Says Be Prepared For Wild Bird Staples Shortage



Wholesaler says be prepared for wild bird staples shortage
22nd May 2020

By Karen Pickwick

Vital is advising retailers to think ahead over buying wild bird food staples in the face of predicted shortages of peanuts and sunflower hearts.

“The trade is heading for what is usually peak wild bird season for retailers,” the wholesaler says. “With people spending more time in gardens, feeding wild birds can bring a lot of pleasure, even for those who don’t have pets and would otherwise not visit a pet shop.

“Vital has prepared by stocking new brands but advises 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 last year, 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, sales and marketing director at Vital, says the company has been reacting to predicted shortages for some time and making preparations.


“We’ve already increased our stockholding of peanuts and sunflower seed significantly in preparation for a shortfall in available stock,” she said. “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, which both supply feeders. The expanded Henry Bell range is in stock, too – offering a wide 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. 

Heather says 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. 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.”