Pet Food Logistics 101: Everything You Need to Know

Table of Contents

Get the latest e-commerce industry news, best practices, and product updates!

Reading Time: 11 minutes

Everybody (well at least, most people) love having pets! After a long day of work, it’s incredibly enjoyable to be welcomed by your pet dog or cat and go for cuddles to cap off the day. There is this incredible fulfillment to be able to take care of a pet animal. Some couples even start by taking care of a commitment pet before deciding to have children. Undoubtedly, in many cultures, pets have become an irremovable part of the family.

And with family comes tender, loving care. Most pet owners today just want to give their fur babies the best things a pet can have. That includes the best food items and other accessories. As e-commerce grew and became more popular, so did the demand for pet food items. What would take a trip to a pet store in the mall or a market complex is now made easier because you can now stock up on your pet’s favorite munchies by ordering via your favorite platforms. Studies conducted have recorded that dog and cat food sales alone have reached USD 37.1 billion in 2021, a 6.4% increase from the year before. Increased adoption of pet animals is a possible moving factor for this high.

This increased demand also opened up opportunities for small entrepreneurs to enter the pet food e-commerce industry. Orders just keep on going, and there’s a market for every item that suits the pet and their fur parents’ needs and wants. Because food items are ordered regularly, and these items are perishable, sellers must then ensure that all items ordered are fulfilled quickly and are sent over to the customer at the soonest possible time.

This article will help you get an overview of the particularities of logistics when it comes to selling pet food online. We’ll also introduce you to the logistics engine – a groundbreaking innovation that can help you fulfill and ship orders faster, and give you that sought-after chance to take greater risks, with utmost support and assistance.

The growing pet food industry

The pet food industry is already significant in itself, but the pet food business can grow even better and bigger with streamlined logistics that can give customers a fulfilling and enriching experience shopping online.

In recent years, demand for pet food has increased due to increasing pet ownership. Let’s be honest, people just love company and our dear cats, dogs, birds, and other pet animals just do the trick. More pets to feed equals more sales for pet food businesses.

There also have been particularly exciting developments recently about the production and packaging of pet food that made it possible for pet food manufacturers to expand their sales, even exporting and establishing their brands globally. 

With all these in mind, pet food logistics, distribution, and fulfillment can prove to get more challenging and demanding while the industry as a whole continues to grow. If consumers, fur moms, and dads, want the best for their pets, then we want the best experience possible for our customers – ensuring that the products they buy are fresh and readily available. What’s nice about all this is that logistics providers have already mastered the process suited for such a delicate item as pet food in every aspect of fulfillment and distribution.

There are some things that we must ensure at all times as pet food sellers and shippers – freshness, on-time delivery, non-contamination, compliance with food standards, and intactness of the parcel. 

The kinds of pet food we can deliver

Our dear pets also have a great number of needs, just like us and the ones we love. So there’s a great chance there is a great demand not only for dry, pellet-type foods but for many different items for more specific purposes. Most third-party logistics (3PL) providers that handle pet food items work with a variety of products that include, but are not limited to:

  • Canned foods
  • Pet drinks/hydration products
  • Dry foods/kibble
  • Prescription foods
  • Food Ingredients
  • Snack/chew items

The growth of the pet food industry and the diverse market it has from different socioeconomic backgrounds has also propelled the diversity of products. Premium pet foods are now being produced. These foods are new product lines that cater to the pet owner’s desire to give their companions more nourishment. And who doesn’t want more delicious food for their purr-fect partner? 

Some of this gourmet and premium food also incorporate higher-end ingredients such as pasture-raised beef and wild-caught fish. Medicines for pets are also now integrated into certain food items to make medication more palatable for pet animals.

There are a few particular aspects that you have to consider in selling items depending on whether it is dry pet food, raw pet food, canned/packaged food items, or prescription foods. Different 3PL partners specialize in handling certain products so it might be best for you to do research before signing up for a service.

In handling dry food, some things that are of prime consideration would be temperature control, care in handling, and adherence to deadlines of distribution. 

Handling raw pet food can be pretty challenging as well in terms of logistics. Raw meat and vegetables for pets can only be transported within a limited distance from storage. In case logistics providers want to deliver further, they must ramp up their efforts and use better and bigger refrigerated trucks. 

Sanitation and food standard procedures must always be observed in handling pet foods because mishandling could greatly affect pets’ health and well-being.

What we mean by pet food safety 

But what do we mean when we mean food safety? There are certain standards and procedures that must be met when working with food products, be it for human or pet animal consumption. All aspects of logistics and fulfillment, from end-to-end, must be compliant with these standards to ensure the safety of consumption of these items, and that they do not cause any harm to the customer, and in this case, their pets.

3PL providers are required to have distribution warehouses, storage facilities, transport vehicles, and even singular delivery persons who are compliant with the standards of authorities in different countries (FDA, USDA, and counterparts in other countries). Compliance with these standards is proven via the necessary certifications.

The possibilities of pet food logistics in coming years

End-to-end fulfillment processes and last-mile logistics have taken significant strides in the past decade and there’s no telling how much and how far it could progress in, let’s say, a decade. With the rise of robots and drones as delivery instruments, intelligent software in placing, managing, and tracking orders, and new methods such as print-to-order or create-by-demand, there is no doubt that technological advancements in the digital age continue to shape the ways we shop – be it online, offline, or a hybrid of both.

In terms of the possible track of the pet food industry, there is an ongoing discussion about the length of time (possibly months or even years) that passes from manufacturing before pet food reaches supermarkets or e-commerce customers’ doorsteps. This is especially true for the packaged dry varieties. Typically, even the manufacturing of pet food takes a considerable amount of time because ingredients are sourced from different parts of the globe, processed in a certain factory, then shipped back to target areas of sales.

While pet food sits at distribution centers and store shelves, many of the vitamins and minerals packed into the ingredients are lost. To extend shelf life, artificial vitamins, and minerals are added to the pet food on shelves.

A pet food distributor in Australia is breaking through a new concept wherein ingredients are locally sourced, or are already present in the area of operations, then processed in a kitchen on demand before being sent out in a matter of 2-4 days to the customer. In such a way, the pet food is delivered fresh and delivered fast. The nutrients that naturally occur in the ingredients have way less chance to depreciate. This concept, if adopted by many, can reduce the need for warehouses that are specifically designed to handle pet food items. 

How a logistics engine like Locad can help your pet food business

Many aspects of logistics warrant heavy consideration should you decide to pursue selling pet food in e-commerce channels. These very real issues that require urgent solutions may be too overwhelming for you to manage alone. That’s why you’ll need the help of our trusty friend – the logistics engine.

The logistics engine is the latest innovation in end-to-end fulfillment and logistics. It is a masterful combination of groundbreaking and integrative software, bolstered by a strong and stable infrastructure network of warehouses, hubs, and third-party logistics (3PL) partners. The end goal of a logistics engine is to handle your logistics from end-to-end, so you can refocus energy on other aspects of the business you deem important.

Here are some of the ways using the services of a logistics engine like Locad can help your pet food business:

Storage. Locad offers a vast storage hub network that is available to sellers domestically and abroad. The stock is stored and delivered from the nearest hub to the location of the customer. This ensures faster delivery and more intelligent inventory, allowing you to assign and reassign inventory depending on the progress of your orders and sales. Aside from preventing stock-outs, intelligent inventory also ensures that the stock you place will not stay for too long. This is especially helpful for perishable items like dry and raw pet food. No more nutrient depreciation for your lovely cat or dog. Your pet gets the most nourishment for the money you pay.

Picking, packing, and packaging. When you sign up for Locad’s services, all you have to do is take care of the part wherein you send your products to a warehouse hub for storage. From then on, as your orders come in, the hubs will be alerted as soon as confirmation of orders is done. Afterward, employees who are professionally trained in handling the fulfillment of orders in bulk will do the picking and packing for you. And because they are professionals with vast experience in fulfillment, you will not fear errors in packing, labeling, and shipping. 

Order management. Orders from all your integrated marketing and sales channels will pour into one hub awaiting your management decisions. In just one system called the Control Tower, you can see all incoming orders whether it be from your Shopify or WooCommerce-based marketplace website, or e-commerce platforms such as Shopee, Lazada, and TikTok Shop. From the Control Tower, you can also control inventory and reassign items based on current demand. What a neat way of maximizing sales by allotting inventory in a more intelligent way. 

Compliance with standards. Locad’s professionals and the logistics engine’s third-party logistics (3PL) partners are among the most reputable institutions and experts in the end-to-end fulfillment and logistics industry. With top-standard infrastructure and protocols, you can be sure that your orders are handled safely and soundly. What’s even better about Locad’s logistics engine is that it recommends you the best 3PL partner for specific items, so if you’re looking for refrigerated transport vehicles to help you ship raw pet food, then most probably, Locad can help you find the perfect fit.

Tracking and troubleshooting. Real-time tracking is very essential when you are shipping pet food – be it dry or raw. Food is a necessity, even for our lovely fur babies. Any delay may cause some serious repercussions. In case problems are encountered along the way, you’ll be notified right away so you can also notify your customers. Aside from location tracking, Locad also presents you metrics about your best-performing and even the worst-performing products so you can troubleshoot right away, and make better decisions moving forward.

By now, we’d like to think that we have already convinced you to optimize and streamline your processes so you can better serve our dear pet owners, and their companions in life. Just remember what your customers want for their pet food orders – fresh, on-time, safe, and intact. So, set forth and sell the best pet food ever!

Experience fulfillment by LOCAD

Grow your business through Locad’s simplified and automated fulfillment solution

  • Unlimited and scaleable warehousing
  • Pay only for what you store
  • No hidden fees or lock-in periods
  • Zero inbound costs
  • Wide integration with marketplaces
  • Automated logistics and delivery
Get the latest e-commerce industry news, best practices, and product updates!

Don't miss out on the latest news!

Get the latest industry news, best practices, and product updates!

Exclusive benefits to ace your e-commerce game this 2023 with Locad’s desk calendar!