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Winter Weather Heats Up Demand for Wild Bird Seed

While much of the country is facing a record-breaking cold snap, sales of wild bird seed is heating up for retailers. According to Global Harvest Foods, the manufacturer of Audubon Park wild bird products, the company saw an increase in demand by 55 percent.

For hardware retailers, seasonality is a huge driver of the sales of wild bird seed and feed.  “When temperatures become extreme, consumers get concerned about the ability of our wild animals to find food and shelter,” said Ed Mills, Global Harvest co-founder and president.

Bird feeding is most helpful at times of when birds need the most energy, such as during temperature extremes—especially snow and ice storms—migration and in late winter or early spring, when natural seed sources are depleted.

It’s a big market opportunity that many retailers don’t realize: 40.5 million U.S. households buy wild bird seed, according to the Wild Bird Feed Industry Research Foundation’s new study.  And on the heels of the recent cold snap that hit much of the country and with another snow storm in the Northeast, shoppers are looking to buy it right now at their local hardware stores.

Hardware stores are the fourth most popular destination for buying wild bird seed and feeders, and could stand to capture more of the market. While customers are visiting hardware stores to stock up for their families in advance of a storm, they are more likely to pick up items at the same time for wild birds.

Chart source: Wild Bird Feeding Industry Research Foundation’s Benchmark Research 2013
Chart source: Wild Bird Feeding Industry Research Foundation’s Benchmark Research 2013

About Amanda Bell

Amanda Bell was an assistant editor of Hardware Retailing and NRHA. Amanda regularly visited with home improvement retailers across the country and attended industry events and seminars. She earned a degree in magazine journalism from Ball State University and has received honors for her work for Hardware Retailing from the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals.

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