Finally, it is getting warm out. For now. Weather affects us all, but it can affect us in ways we never thought.
Weather affects us getting around, but it also affects the movement of everything we buy as well. Getting product to market, or raw materials to the manufacturer or processor is also weather related.
We source our crickets from the Midwest US, and they are shipped though the Louisville UPS hub. Well, last week, the weather halted that hub completely, COVID vaccine wasn’t getting out, and for the first time in 25 years, UPS did not send trucks out to pick up trailers from our cricket company. The week before, temperatures here were so low that our supplier would not ship, because the crickets would freeze solid in transit. So, thanks to Mother Nature, we have not been able to get crickets for the last two weeks.
Those cold temperatures a few weeks ago to the west of us disrupted freight shipments. Many couriers and freight companies had entire fleets that would not start. If the truck won’t start, they can’t pick up or deliver. Most of these delays were just a couple days, but still. In the past few months, extreme weather has caused delays due to snow, storms and temperature.
Processors are also at the mercy of the weather as well. Many food items are dependent on appropriate temperatures for shipping. Hog processing plants are supplied by farms, and the trucks that move the hogs cannot move the animals when temperatures are too low. This can affect the supply side, with no raw materials, no finished product, setting back production.
Weather, or rather climate change, can also affect availability of certain of our products. Case I point is the kangaroo supply. Kangaroo is a unique protein that is a godsend to pets with exceptional allergy issues. Foods, treats and chews made from kangaroo have been very popular recently. Most of this product comes from the cull of wild kangaroo in Australia. In Australia, it is very inexpensive, but transportation to the other side of the world makes it a premium priced product here.
Last year’s wildfires in Australia decimated the kangaroo population. It is going to be a while before they reach population numbers that will require the culls that were the source of pet foods, treats and chews. What inventory is left are getting more expensive, if they are available at all.
We have become pretty demanding as consumers, and are used to having what we want, when we want it. We are very fortunate that the vast majority of what we consume is not seriously affected by weather because we have enough in stock to get through short periods of reduced supply. Most people understand that weather is just something we cannot predict or prevent, and understand when stock levels are at the mercy of Mother Nature.