Just how closely the fate of the pet sector may be connected to events in world politics is shown by the uncertainty over how much longer Russia will continue to supply gas to Germany. Pet food manufacturers in particular are currently waiting with trepidation to see if Russia will turn the gas back on following the maintenance of the gas pipeline Nord Stream 1, which commenced on 11 July.
Nord Stream 1 is a pipeline carrying natural gas from Russia to Europe. It has been in operation since 2011 and transports gas under the Baltic to Greifswald in eastern Germany. From there the gas is distributed throughout Germany via a network of pipelines.
The pipeline is generally inspected every year, with the inspection taking around ten days, according to the Federal Grid Agency. Against the background of the war in Ukraine, however, this year’s inspection may not just be a routine matter: it cannot be ruled out that Russia might simply turn the gas flow off following the servicing work.
A step of this kind would hit the pet supplies sector in Germany hard. In the worst case, the supply of food for pets in Germany could be severely impacted. This spectre was raised back in mid-May in a press release by Katrin Langner, CEO of the Industrial Association of Pet Care Producers. In an open letter to the Federal Grid Agency and the ministries concerned, pet product retailers and the pet supplies industry are therefore calling on politicians to safeguard supplies for pets if Russia should turn off the gas tap.
Dr Johannes Steegmann, CEO of the Fressnapf Group, has now raised this concern once more in an interview with the Lebensmittelzeitung. Like Langner previously, he is asking politicians to class the pet sector as an essential category and thereby to maintain production.
When it comes to the power supply, the majority of manufacturers in the pet sector are reliant on gas. A switch to oil might be possible in individual instances, but this would take time and money. According to Langner, it would not be possible to make savings here due to statutory regulations. These dictate that “pet food must always be heated to high temperatures, and so there is no room for economies,” she said, explaining the special situation of the pet sector.