Britain's growing ranks of cats and dogs could be left staring at empty bowls after Sainsbury's, the nation's second biggest supermarket group, warned of a shortage of pet food pouches.
In e-mails to cat and dog-owning customers Sainsbury's apologised but cautioned the issue could be long term.
'Due to a national shortage of dog and cat food pouches, we're sorry if you're not able to find your usual product at Sainsbury's,' it said.
"We're working hard to resolve this. We think the issue will be ongoing through the year, but we hope to get them back onto shelves as quickly as possible."
Dog and cat ownership has soared during the COVID-19 pandemic as Britons have sought four-legged companions during multiple lockdowns. That has fuelled significant growth in pet food sales.
“We are seeing an increased demand for pet food pouches and are working hard to maintain stock levels," said a spokeswoman for Sainsbury's.
She said the group continued to offer a range of canned and dry alternatives.
Tesco, Britain's biggest supermarket group, said it had experienced particularly strong demand for branded cat food pouches. It is working closely with suppliers to meet customer demand.
No. 4 player Morrisons said it was also working closely with suppliers who were investing in increasing their capacity.
It cautioned it may not have full availability for several months.
'That being said, we do have enough stock to support all our customers and their new pets and so there is no need for people to buy more than they need,' it added.