Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Freshpet (FRPT) Q1 2021 Earnings Call Transcript

By Motley Fool Transcribing - May 4, 2021 at 8:01AM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

FRPT earnings call for the period ending March 31, 2021.

Logo of jester cap with thought bubble.

Image source: The Motley Fool.

Freshpet (FRPT 1.52%)
Q1 2021 Earnings Call
May 03, 2021, 4:30 p.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:


Operator

Greetings, and welcome to the Freshpet first-quarter 2021 earnings call. [Operator instructions] As a reminder, this conference is being recorded. I would now like to turn the conference over to your host, Mr. Jeff Sonnek with ICR.

Please proceed, sir.

Jeff Sonnek -- Investor Relations

Thank you. Good afternoon, and welcome to Freshpet's first-quarter 2021 earnings call and webcast. On today's call are Billy Cyr, chief executive officer; and Heather Pomerantz, chief financial officer. Scott Morris, chief operating officer, will also be available for Q&A.

Before we begin, please remember that during the course of this call, management may make forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. These statements are based on management's current expectations and beliefs and involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in these forward-looking statements. Please refer to the company's annual report on Form 10-K filed with the SEC and the company's press release issued today for a detailed discussion of the risks that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in any forward-looking statements made today. Please note that on today's call, management will refer to certain non-GAAP financial measures such as EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA, among others.

While the company believes these non-GAAP financial measures provide useful information for investors, presentation of this information is not intended to be considered in isolation or as a substitute for the financial information presented in accordance with GAAP. Please refer to today's press release for how management defines such non-GAAP measures, reconciliation of the non-GAAP financial measures to the most comparable measures prepared in accordance with GAAP, and limitations associated with such non-GAAP measures. Finally, the company has produced a presentation that contains many of the key metrics that will be discussed on this call. Presentation can be found on the company's investor website.

Management's commentary will not specifically walk through the presentation on the call, rather, is a summary of the results and guidance they will discuss today. Now I'd like to turn the call over to Billy Cyr, chief executive officer.

Billy Cyr -- Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Jeff, and good afternoon, everyone. I want to start by giving you the punchline upfront. The Freshpet Kitchens are delivering the increases in output we had expected and are now producing at a rate that is almost 50% above year ago. That is enabling us to refill the trade inventory that we had drawn down during the back half of 2020 and satisfy our customers and consumers with much better in-stock conditions.

We are not done refilling the inventory on all the SKUs at all customers, but we are getting close. We are incredibly grateful to the customers and consumers who have stood by us during the supply challenges we had over the last six months. We know it is frustrating for our customers to not be able to provide their shoppers with a high-quality in-stock conditions they pride themselves on and for consumers to have to search high and low for the Freshpet products that their pets have become accustomed to. Our team has done everything they could to catch up to demand under very challenging circumstances.

I can't say enough good things about the efforts of our production, sales, logistics, and consumer care team and their tenacity through the challenges of the past year. The progress we've made has allowed us to get back to doing what we do best, change the way people nourish their pets forever. Our advertising is on the air, household penetration is growing. We are launching new items and our customers are planning to install new fridges, upgraded fridges and second fridges.

As a result of this progress and the strong fundamental trends we are seeing, we remain very bullish on our prospects for both this year and for the next several years. We are off to a very good start in 2021 despite the numerous challenges we face. In Q1, we grew net sales 33%, our strongest quarter of growth since the third quarter of 2015. Basically, we sold everything we could make in Q1.

We also grew adjusted EBITDA in Q1 at a rate slightly above net sales growth, up 35% versus year ago. Heather will provide you with more detail and color on those results. I want to focus my comments on a few of the highlights and choices we made that drove the results in the quarter and update you on our expectations for the balance of the year and early next year. I want to begin by discussing the state of our manufacturing operations.

Overall, we are doing very well, delivering the commitments we had made on both our near-term and long-term capacity projects. As we have previously outlined, we made several additions to our capacity last year, including a two-shift operation at Kitchens South last June and the start-up of Kitchens 2.0 in October. Despite those additions, our total output did not go up, i.e., we lost just as much output in our existing kitchens due to COVID testing and quarantine as we gained from those incremental operations. You can see this on the chart on Page 36 of the accompanying investor presentation.

In December, we made several interventions designed to correct that, and the plan is working. We are now getting the benefits of the incremental production capacity we added last year and adding more. Other than the two significant snowstorms in February, we've consistently produced in excess of Nielsen-measured consumption every week since January 1, have not lost any production shifts due to COVID, and our April production was about 45% ahead of a strong month a year ago and more than 60% greater than was consumed a year ago. We have now demonstrated the ability to produce at a level that will support the significant growth we are guiding to this year.

We've been able to do this because of work our HR team did to bolster our staffing. We raised the wages for our night shift and recruited a flex pool of talent to both insulate us from any further COVID-related absenteeism and to further expand our capacity. COVID still exists in the Lehigh Valley community where the kitchens are located, so we are still incurring some COVID-related costs. We expect that to wind down in Q3 as our entire team became eligible for vaccines on March 31, and we have strongly encouraged them to get vaccinated if they can.

We have provided incentives to our team members to share their vaccination history with us, offering two incremental days of vacation and a $25 cash incentive if they share their vaccination record with us within the first two months after they became eligible, and one-day vacation if they share it within the following two months. Further, while the state of Pennsylvania has not allowed companies to do on-site vaccinations, we hired nursing staff to sit in our break rooms for eight hours per day and work with our team members to navigate the challenges of finding vaccination appointments. They have successfully found vaccine appointments for numerous team members at times and locations that work for them. We are thrilled with the success of this program, and our team members are very appreciative that we made it so much easier for them.

While not everyone will choose to get vaccinated, we believe enough will choose to be vaccinated to reduce our dependence on most of our COVID-related interventions by the end of Q3. Due to our success in navigating these unusual and dynamic variables, we do not expect further supply interruptions this year due to COVID. And as a result, we anticipate winding down our COVID add-back to adjusted EBITDA by the end of Q3. We are mindful, however, that the future of COVID is uncertain and there is the possibility of new variants that evade our vaccines, further government-mandated lockdowns, and new unforeseen supply chain interruptions.

We will remain nimble, always keeping the safety of our team as our top priority. And we'll communicate any changes to our expectations in a timely manner. Looking forward, we remain on track to add a new production line at Kitchen South later this year and another one early next year. And construction of our largest kitchen in Ennis, Texas is making good progress.

We remain comfortable with the timetables we've communicated previously in terms of facility start-up timing and the total production capacity each of those facilities will provide. Further, when Ennis opens next year, it will be another example of our ability to continually improve the manufacturing technology for Freshpet, creating higher quality products at an attractive cost and in a very positive work environment. Kitchens 2.0 is a major step forward for us against those metrics. Ennis will be another step beyond that.

I also want to point out that we are constructing the Ennis facility with environmental sustainability in mind. For example, we've already poured 3,700 cubic yards of low-carbon concrete. That is concrete that uses fly ash to lower the carbon footprint. That has saved approximately 100 metric tons of CO2 emissions so far in the construction of that facility versus ordinary concrete.

We can't replace all of our concrete with low carbon concrete. But where we can, we are doing it. We are also installing a variety of measures designed to both limit our water and energy usage, but also generate clean water and energy on-site. We will provide a much more in-depth review of our entire environmental sustainability and broader ESG effort this summer when we release our first ESG report.

The second topic I would like to address is the composition of our growth in the quarter. As we said when we provided our guidance in late February, the year-on-year comparisons are not particularly meaningful due to the COVID surge and trough in the base year. In the accompanying presentation, we attempt to provide a bit more clarity so that you can understand the various moving parts, including not only the year-ago COVID impacts but also the impact of our out-of-stocks this year. The key points I would highlight are: first, the out-of-stock impact was most significant in mid-February when winter storms Orlena and Uri interrupted both production and distribution.

You can see this in the drop in total distribution points, TDPs, monthly net sales versus a year ago in February, and our two-year stack Nielsen consumption growth rate. Prior to those February storms, our improving production resulted in strong January shipment and healthy consumption growth. Since the end of the second storm in mid-February, we've seen similarly strong bounce back in shipments, consumption, retail availability, and our production levels. Those trends continued into April with a strong upward trend in the weekly Nielsen consumption through the most recently reported week.

We are now running at the consumption growth rate we need to deliver our guidance for the year. Second, we successfully refilled a portion of the trade inventory in Q1 and expect shipments to exceed consumption in each quarter this year. We believe that we refilled about $3 million of trade inventory in Q1, and that contributed about four points to our growth rate. We would have filled considerably more, but we lost $3.5 million of production to winter storms.

So virtually all the trade inventory refill happened in March, and it is accelerating. While estimating trade inventory levels is always very difficult and imprecise, we believe that leaves another $12 million of trade inventory to fill in Q2. And we have seen a significant portion of that happen in April as we've had very strong production performance. As we indicated in the presentation, our net sales in April are anticipated to be up about 42%.

While consumption in April is expected to be up by a similarly strong growth rate, please remember that we were also refilling trade inventory in the year ago. Last year, we reported our total Q2 net sales growth rate included 11 points of trade inventory adjustments. We expect that this year's Q2 trade inventory refill may contribute to our growth rate at a level equal to or slightly above last year's adjustment. Looking to the second half of 2021, I'd remind you that in late Q3 and all of Q4 of 2020, we could not keep up with demand, so shipments did not grow as fast as consumption and we drew down trade inventory.

We believe we will have adequate capacity this year to meet the increasing demand, and our shipment growth rate should exceed the consumption growth rate for the second half of the year. Third point, despite our out-of-stocks in the first quarter this year, we continued to successfully build both household penetration and line rate in the quarter. As you know, maximizing our first-mover advantage in the fresh pet food space is a critical strategic priority for us. So our bias is always to lean in to maximize the number of households to become part of the Freshpet franchise.

In early November, we delay the start of our advertising in Q1 2021 to mid-February in an effort to better match our projected timing for improved retail conditions with a healthy media schedule to follow for the balance of the quarter. If we've known in early November about the production challenges we would face in late November and December due to COVID, not to mention the series of major winter storms that would curtail our production and accelerate out-of-stocks, we would have made a different choice. Needless to say, that was not ideal. Despite that, we were still able to bring in new households at a very strong rate.

Consumers saw the advertising, and we're motivated by it, driving household penetration up 25% and exceeding 4 million households for the first time. The efficiency of the spend was likely reduced from our 2020 levels. Our early read suggests that it was in line with our 2019 levels of efficiency, which was still quite positive. We also built the buying rate by 3% despite consumers' inability to find our items for a good portion over the last six months.

Once it became apparent that the retail conditions would not be restored until the end of April, we delayed the start of Q2 advertising until April 19. While that will delay our ramp-up in household penetration gains in Q2, we believe we got the timing right as we feel conditions could improve dramatically by the time the advertising went on the air. We will now be on the air almost continuously for the balance of the year, and that will provide significant momentum, particularly in the back half of the year. The third topic I would like to cover is how our retail partners are thinking about Freshpet today in light of our recent out-of-stocks and the implications for fridge placements later this year and next year.

If there's anything that this experience has taught our retail partners and us, it is that Freshpet has become a very important destination for pet parents. When a store is out of stock on Freshpet, consumers are willing to go to a second or third store to find the product, and they call us asking where they can find it. Freshpet really is that important to our pet parents and their pets. And our retail partners have noticed.

Freshpet is now larger than all dry dog food brands in the grocery channel, which is where some of our biggest distribution opportunities lie. And our total dollar sales growth is now larger than the growth of every other wet and dry dog food brand in the Nielsen Mega-Channel. While the out-of-stocks didn't always make for the most comfortable conversations with our customers, one clear theme emerged from them. They now realize that leaning with Freshpet is very important to their overall success in pet food.

And many of our leading customers are now planning to lean in on fresh. In fact, eight of our top 10 customers now have significant tests or expansions of dual fridge placement, and many are planning more. But before we place new fridges, we need to be able to supply them. It makes no sense to put lots of new fridges in stores if we can't supply the fridges that we already have.

As a result of the out-of-stocks we incurred in Q1, in cooperation with our customers, we delayed many of the new store fridge placements until later this year, early next year, when our capacity could support them. Thus, our net new stores were only up 174 to 22,890 in Q1. However, we had a strong quarter on upgrades, placing 293 of them, and a decent quarter on second fridges, placing 121 of them. This pace is consistent with the guidance we provided in February, and we are on track to deliver our full-year 2021 goals.

We expect to see a steady stream of new placements throughout this year, with the most significant placements occurring in Q4 in the first half of 2022. We continue to expect to have the capacity to support a $590 million revenue run rate business by the end of this year and about $1 billion revenue run rate by the end of 2022. That will give us plenty of capacity to support the aggressive expansions our customers are contemplating. And we have shared that information with them, so we remain coordinated.

Before I turn it over to Heather, I want to personally thank all the investors who supported our recent equity offering. That offering is allowing us to accelerate our pace of capacity expansion, enabling us to build the capacity to support a $2 billion revenue business, and helping us achieve our goal of changing the way people nurse their pets forever. While we have lots of work to do, we are well on our way to deliver those projects. Now I will turn it over to Heather to provide the details on our financial results.

Heather Pomerantz -- Chief Financial Officer

Thank you, Billy, and good afternoon, everyone. As Billy indicated, net sales for Q1 of 2021 were $93.4 million, up 33% versus a year ago. Actual Nielsen Mega-Channel consumption was up 24%. So after adjusting for one less day in the quarter this year, continued improvement in the reduction of foil and the trade inventory reduction in the year ago, we estimate that four points of our growth came from our efforts to rebuild trade inventory and refill the fridges.

That is about $3 million of our net sales in the quarter. We believe we have another $12 million of trade inventory that we will refill in Q2, and we are on track to do that. We believe we could have sold more in the quarter if we could have produced more. We lost about $3.5 million of production to the two major snowstorms that occurred in the quarter.

While winter snowstorms should not surprise anyone, these storms had a disproportionate impact on us because of the magnitude of the storms where we have production facilities, the fact that we had no excess capacity and neither we nor our customers had any inventory to buffer the impact. The growth in the quarter continued to be led by strong performance in the pet specialty channel, with Nielsen-measured big-box pet specialty consumption up 43% in the quarter. Our e-commerce business also performed well, growing 156% in the quarter and now accounts for 6.3% of sales. Additionally, we had very strong performance in our international markets.

Our international business grew 36% in the quarter, and we continue to see strong expense in those markets behind the advertising investments we have been making. Clearly, the Freshpet business model work outside the U.S. Adjusted EBITDA for Q1 was $7.8 million, up 35% versus the year ago, slightly outpacing sales growth. The profitability would have been greater except we incurred significant freight cost increases in the quarter.

Part of this was due to the freight inflation we saw coming and communicated on our February call, but a larger portion of the increase was due to our low order fill rate. Due to system limitations we have in our current ERP system, we don't have the ability to consolidate loads very easily when we are shipping less than 100% of a customer's order. Thus, when customers gave us very large orders to meet both weekly demand and also refill their inventory, and we only had limited inventory to satisfy the order, our fill rates dropped quite significantly. The result is that we ship trucks that were half empty, driving up our freight cost per pound.

I have provided a chart in the presentation that describes how this happens and the impact that it has. This problem will be remedied as we rebuild our inventory, both ours and our customers. And customer orders better reflect actual weekly consumption. We expect that to happen gradually throughout Q2.

However, the fill rates will only improve modestly until we rebuild our internal inventories on the vast majority of SKUs. In other words, we anticipate refilling trade inventory before we are able to completely solve the fill rate inefficiency. We expect that will likely occur sometime in Q3. Our new ERP system will also have the capability to allocate inventory to orders before shipment, allowing for order consolidation, which will be of immense value should we ever face this problem again.

That new system is targeted to go live at the beginning of Q4. Until the remedies are put in place, we believe we can offset these higher costs elsewhere in the P&L and still deliver our adjusted EBITDA guidance for the year, but they will reduce our opportunity for SG&A leverage gain until that is completed. Adjusted gross margin improved modestly from Q4, up 90 basis points to 46.7%, but was well below the year ago of 49.5%. We continue to incur the higher beef costs and higher wages, which were anticipated, but we also incurred higher unabsorbed fixed costs due to the lost production caused by the storms in February.

Additionally, expanded production at Kitchen South drove higher processing costs. We believe that the investments in both the higher night shift wages and the expanded production at Kitchen South are paying significant dividends in terms of strong and steady production that is enabling us to rebuild the trade inventory. Because there is much discussion about cost inflation in the market today, I want to comment on how we are seeing that today and outline what you can expect from us. As many of you know, chicken is our single largest ingredient expenditure, and we locked that price for the year in December at prices that are flat versus the year ago.

I have already mentioned that we are experiencing inflation in beef and freight, both of which we planned for this year, with those increases being in line with our expectations at this point. We are beginning to see some inflation in resin-based materials such as packaging. The total impact appears to be modest and manageable within the context of our guidance. We are also beginning to see evidence of labor cost inflation, but we are not expecting a significant increase this year.

We will continue to watch these costs as the year progresses before making any determination about whether we need to take any action. Although if we did, it would not have any impact until 2022. Media investment in the quarter was in line with our long-term rate at slightly above 12% of net sales, but below the 16.7% we had in the year ago. Recall, we delayed the start of advertising in Q1 to give us some time to rebuild trade inventory first.

Excluding the higher freight and lower media costs in the quarter, SG&A was down 160 basis points versus a year ago, giving us the confidence that our long-term road map toward 1,000 basis points of SG&A leverage by 2025, excluding media spend, is on track. We incurred $950,000 in COVID-related expenses in the quarter and have added those back. We expect to complete our COVID add-backs in Q3 as we anticipate enough of our teams have been vaccinated by then to roll back some of the incremental provisions we have put in place. Our net cash used in operations was $5.5 million in Q1.

Our cash used in operations was driven by accounts receivable and inventory working capital needs due to strong net sales growth and production in the last month of the quarter. We've successfully completed our equity offering in the quarter, netting $332.5 million. Our cash on hand at the end of the quarter was $341 million. We spent $49.3 million in capex in the quarter.

The Ennis facility is entering some of its highest investment quarters as all the site preparation is complete, foundations have been poured and steel has been going up for about a month now. Additionally, our project to add a second line at Kitchen South is on track to produce product by the end of Q3, and the third line there will come online at the beginning of 2022. We are also taking advantage of the incremental capacity that is coming online to make some upgrades in our existing Kitchens 1.0 and expect to have that work completed by the end of the year. That work will improve quality and reduce some of our labor costs on one of the existing lines.

I also want to comment on the productivity we are seeing from the new lines in Kitchens 2.0. You will recall, we raised our throughput expectations for those lines when we provided our updated long-term capital plans in late February. In that plan, We acknowledge that the higher speed line and greater automation that we placed in Kitchens 2.0 can deliver higher output than we included in our original projections. We are continuing to see that level of productivity as we increase the hours of production on those lines, and we are also seeing outstanding quality.

We are not on expanding the shift in that facility yet, so we have significant incremental production capacity yet to come. but is very exciting for us to realize the benefits of the manufacturing expertise we have been investing in. We believe we have created a new standard for Freshpet production and look forward to sharing it with you when the world opens up and we can host visitors again. Turning to our guidance for 2021.

We are reiterating our guidance for the year that calls for net sales of greater than 430 million and adjusted EBITDA of greater than 61 million. In the presentation, you will see some of the many assumptions that go into that guidance and also some details on the cadence we are expecting. As we have said, the unusual nature of last year's consumption patterns and our short shipment will make the year-on-year comparisons a bit odd so we are doing our best to clarify as many of the moving parts as we can. In particular, as we look to Q2, please take into account the following.

In the quarter, we expect to complete the refill of the trade inventory hole we created in the back half of 2020. However, we did something similar in the year ago, so we will not necessarily a significantly higher shipment growth rate than the consumption growth rate reported by Nielsen. But based on what we are seeing so far, the consumption growth rate has been robust, so we are projecting continued strong shipments. We expect to see sequential improvement in adjusted gross margin as we continue to produce at a very high level and expect to exit 2021 with a fourth-quarter gross margin run rate higher than our full-year 2020 results.

We are still on track for the average adjusted gross margin to be flat to 2020. We will continue to experience higher freight costs due to our depleted inventory levels for most of Q2 and potentially part of Q3. This will diminish our leverage gains in adjusted SG&A, excluding media this year. But we expect those increased costs to be gone by Q4.

We still have a very strong advertising investment in Q2 as we ramp up our growth to catch up to the increased production capacity we have created. That investment will continue through the end of 2021, with comparable spending in absolute dollars planned in each of the three remaining quarters. In closing, our guidance for 2021 continues to call for net sales greater than $430 million, up 35% versus a year ago and adjusted EBITDA greater than $61 million, up 30% versus a year ago. We believe our strong performance in Q1, particularly in manufacturing, has positioned us well for the balance of the year.

We are producing about 50% more than we did in the year ago and we have more capacity coming online. Our advertising is driving household penetration gains, and we have a strong, continuous media presence for the balance of the year. Retailers recognize the value that Freshpet brings to the category and are planning more and larger fridge placements. And our innovation pipeline is deep.

We have not had the luxury of all those conditions being in place, all at the same time in a long time, so we look forward to taking advantage of the momentum that provides, accelerating our growth toward our 2025 goals of 11 million households, 1.25 billion in net sales and a 25% adjusted EBITDA margin. That concludes our overview. We will now be glad to take your questions. Operator?

Questions & Answers:


Operator

Thank you. [Operator instructions] Your first question comes from the line of Ken Goldman with J.P. Morgan. Please proceed with your question.

Ken Goldman -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

Hi, good afternoon. Thank you. I know there's some year on year, I guess, lumpiness to -- there's some lumpiness to the year-on-year numbers. But the way I see it, you've guided to annual run-rate capacity in 1Q of $390 million in potential sales.

You've guided to $490 million in 2Q for the run rate. So I guess if you just average those out, it kind of gets you to a quarterly run rate of about $110 million in dollar sales capacity this quarter. I apologize for doing the maths on the call on the fly, but it just feels like you're sort of saying to us, you know, you should probably get close to that $110 million number in dollar sales unless you under ship consumption, which seems unlikely. So I just wanted to make sure my math there is not totally inaccurate in how to think about, you know, implied guidance for 2Q revenue.

Hello?

Billy Cyr -- Chief Executive Officer

Hi, Ken. Hi, Ken, I'm sorry, I was talking on mute. I apologize.

Ken Goldman -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

No. I thought I [Inaudible] someone for the first time in history.

Billy Cyr -- Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. No. Sorry. Scott, thanks for trying to jump in.

So Ken, your math is right. But I caution that there's a couple of assumptions that are built in there. The first assumption is that we have at the end of the quarter that we -- that the demand is fully utilizing all the capacity. We're filling the trade inventory hole now.

So it assumes that at the end of the quarter, the Nielsen consumption is using all of it up. The second assumption there is as we continue to ramp up production, your -- the assumption is that what we produce and what is in demand is a dead match. And so as you can imagine, we're going to start doing longer production runs and try to refill some of our inventory to improve our customer service because we know as we have more inventory in-house, our ability to do -- fill trucks goes up. So we may end the quarter with higher inventory as opposed to necessarily selling everything that we make.

It's not the ideal way to do it, but it's ultimately what could end up happening. But other than that, your math is right.

Ken Goldman -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

OK. So just to clarify, and I'm not -- I don't want to pin you down on an exact number here because I know things are so fluid right now. But $110 million seems like the maximum you can produce, but there are some caveats to that, that could bring a potentially slightly below that. And we're not holding to that.

I'm just trying to get a sense of what you're saying.

Billy Cyr -- Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Just recognize that there's a human component, yes. I mean let's put it this way. Can we get in that direction? Yes.

There's a human component. We're adding staffing. We have to produce well every week. You get the idea, but we're in that ballpark.

Ken Goldman -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

Understood. That's helpful. Thank you for that. And then you spoke last quarter about a major expansion in e-commerce.

Obviously, e-com is doing great for you still. I didn't hear though another mention of that major expansion today unless I missed it. I just wanted to know, are you still on schedule with those partners? Or maybe have your production challenges temporarily delayed some of the bump up you might have expected? Just hoping for an update because that was such an important part of the story last quarter.

Billy Cyr -- Chief Executive Officer

Now, do you want to take that?

Scott Morris -- Chief Operating Officer

It's Scott. Yeah. It's Scott. So no, everything is running on schedule.

I wish everything was running as tight as this is. So I think what you're going to see from us over the course of this year, you'll see a lot of expansion in e-commerce in general. We've actually had to shut down a lot of the marketing and advertising that we've done over the past year just because of some of the capacity issues. So you'll see expansion with many of the folks that we currently work with, where the majority of it goes through our existing fridge network.

And you'll also see some additional e-commerce partners coming, where you would be able to order different things from some new partners. We're going to increase the marketing. We anticipate we'll continue to increase our share -- overall share of the business. We're getting a ton of inbound requests from consumers from a subscription standpoint.

We think we'll be able to -- we will be able to solve that this year. So we're very excited about that. And we're really planning on working with the right partners under, you know, a really, really good kind of joint set of terms that we can really kind of make a major impact in e-commerce over the course of this year.

Ken Goldman -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

Thank you.

Jeff Sonnek -- Investor Relations

Thanks, Ken.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Steph Wissink with Jefferies. Please proceed with your question.

Steph Wissink -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Thank you. Good afternoon, everyone. I have a question for you, Heather. It's just on the overall cost structure.

So you talked about chicken being locked in, beef seeing a little inflation, some packaging inflation. And then freight separately in the selling expense, can you just help size up each of those to your overall cost pool, so we can just understand a little bit about impact in each of those big buckets?

Heather Pomerantz -- Chief Financial Officer

Sure. Sure, Steph. So just to sort of dimensionalize how to think about our input costs and where they show up. So first, cost of goods.

When you split up, the input costs are about 40% of our cost of goods. And then just as a reminder, freight costs are in SG&A. So when you're thinking about margin impacts, that is there. So yes, I mean we touched on it, but I'll go into a little bit more detail.

We anticipated inflation in beef, which is on track in terms of what we've -- you know, it's in line with what we've gotten by it. We also anticipated packaging inflation, mainly in corrugate. And that's also reflected in our plans. The only new one that's really emerging is around resins.

And right now, the resin impact, it appears to be pretty modest in terms of how that will impact our packaging costs overall. So not a major driver, something that we're comfortable that we can absorb within the overall P&L structure and overall guidance. And then in freight, we touched on it, but I'll just go into a little bit more detail. We anticipated freight inflation, both in carrier inflation as well as fuel surcharge.

And those assumptions haven't changed versus what we had in guidance. The bigger driver is the issue that I talked about around the cost implication of our low fill rates. And that's a pretty meaningful on cost. If you look in the presentation, you'll see that that's -- you know, when you look at a 50% fill rate versus a 90% fill rate, about $0.07 a pound.

So it's pretty meaningful. The impact in Q1 on a margin perspective is about 200 basis points. So we had 300 basis points versus plan and logistics, but of which 200 is driven by that fill rate issue -- sorry, versus prior year. And so it's pretty meaningful, but we do expect that as fill rates improve, it will naturally come down as we touched on.

Steph Wissink -- Jefferies -- Analyst

OK. That's great. And if I could, just one follow-up. It also relates a little bit to e-commerce being about 6% of your business.

But as you're thinking about deploying more dollars in advertising, can you share with us a little bit about digital versus traditional mix? And then as you see e-commerce continue to climb higher, do you distort more and more toward digital activation and conversion?

Billy Cyr -- Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. You know, it's a really interesting question. It's something we've tested our way through over the past kind of even five years on how we go to market. And we're a -- we make sure that the dollars that we're spending, we keep incredibly close track on, do an incredible amount of analysis to make sure that they're as productive as possible.

The vast majority of our spending continues to be on television. We are finding that there's some great places in connected TV and OTT that we can spend dollars and they're really productive. We have nice spending in digital, but it's definitely not the -- it's the minority of our overall spend. As we do a little bit more in e-commerce than what we've done over the past year, we get a really, really good return on ad spend.

When we're advertising specifically and the dollars go to a partner that has a wafer, a customer -- consumer that order it directly. So, you know, you took into the card as an example. So as we're doing advertising in some of these different areas, we're getting really, really good return on ad spend, and we're going to continue to kind of press into that area until we see any type of diminishing returns. So I don't think it will cause a dramatic shift in what we're seeing overall because it's still a very, very small piece of the total pie for us.

But over time, we definitely anticipate potentially moving some dollars into that area.

Steph Wissink -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Thank you, very helpful.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Rupesh Parikh with Oppenheimer & Company. Please proceed with your question.

Rupesh Parikh -- Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. -- Analyst

Good afternoon, and thanks for taking my question. So as you look at the April data, clearly, consumer mobility has increased. I was just curious, Billy, if you guys are seeing any changes in consumer behavior or whether purchasing Freshpet, have you seen some changes with the increased vaccinations, etc.?

Billy Cyr -- Chief Executive Officer

The data -- first of all, in the deck, we show, you know, our estimate of what April's consumption is or our sales were, and then also you see the Nielsen data for the month. And so you can see we're seeing an upward trend along in terms of both consumption as well as the shipments that we're doing. The thing that's tough for us to tell is we have two things going on at the same time. Advertising went on the air for us on April 19, and our in-store presentation has improved consistently throughout the month of April.

And so with those two factors, we'd expect to see continued strong upward trends in consumption. So it's hard to separate that out from anything else like, you know, vaccinations and people having more mobility. The attitudinal data we've seen, the consumer comments we're getting all suggest that the behavior is very similar. But I have to believe that psychographically, consumers are feeling a little bit more liberated.

Rupesh Parikh -- Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. -- Analyst

OK. Great. And then maybe just one follow-up question. So clearly, you guys have -- you have some cost pressures in your business.

It seems like this year, you'll be able to manage through. How do you think about the pricing lever going forward? Is that something maybe you'll raise that later this year or next year? Or just curious just on pricing, how you guys think about that going forward.

Billy Cyr -- Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, Rupesh, Heather had made some comments in the prepared remarks that basically said we'll take a look at that, but probably later on this year. We'll look at it and see what the cost picture looks like. Frankly, we have to restore our customer service and get ourselves in a good position with both our retailers and our consumers before you even think about that. And then we'll take a look at and see what the position -- you know, what the cost inflation is that we have.

Scott Morris -- Chief Operating Officer

OK, Rupesh. And that being said, let me add on, I think that we have done pricing in the past. We've been able to manage it very well. The business has responded incredibly well to it.

So we do know it is a lever. But as Billy said, it's not something that we're -- we want to apply in the near term.

Rupesh Parikh -- Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. -- Analyst

OK, great.

Operator

Thank you. Your next question comes from the line of Bill Chappell with Truist. Please proceed with your question.

Bill Chappell -- Truist Securities -- Analyst

Thanks. Good afternoon there. Just I guess, first question, trying to understand kind of the out-of-stocks and how we see it at retail. Doing fair amount of store checks, you can find some pretty bare fridges, you can -- even as recently the past couple of weeks.

And historically, it's always -- you know, it's rare where you could find a fully stocked fridge, just because it was either growing so fast or just because of kind of customer service or getting it to the fridge levels. Should that change over this year? I know you said you're going to have production up to make your sales goals, but I didn't know if the out-of-stocks would still be an issue throughout the year where you may be leaving some sales on the table.

Billy Cyr -- Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Let me take a shot at, and Scott might have some comments to add on it. But the out-of-stocks were at their very worst shortly after the snowstorms that we had in February. And whether you measure it using TDPs, which is sort of a poor man's but publicly available way of identifying what our out-of-stocks are or we do some of our own internal audits.

The bottom line is we've seen consistent improvement week-on-week since that depths in February. And to the point that as of the most recent week, you know, there are still some fridges out there. And it's in certain places and certain customers and on certain SKUs, you'll see some spotty conditions. But we fully expect to see much better-looking fridges in the next several weeks.

And if you take a look at the TDPs as a sort of a benchmark of it, last August, mid-August, when we were just the first time we sort of ran out of capacity, that was our high watermark, and we had a lot of very full fridges back then. And I'd expect us to be back at that level within the call at the next six weeks or so. And at that point, yes, you'll find some fridges that don't have all the SKUs all the time, but you will find largely well-stocked fridges. Scott, do you have anything to add to that?

Scott Morris -- Chief Operating Officer

Yeah. Bill, we touched a little bit on it in the past. And sometimes, we look at it and I think everyone in the organization sometimes is scratching their head on how we're putting up the numbers we're putting up with some of the in-stock conditions that we have, which I think is a good signal. We have in-stock conditions at some retailers that are as low as 30%, 40%, all the way up to 80%.

But no one's even into the -- you know, we may have a couple of people that are recently getting into the mid-80s, but we're -- we have a lot of opportunity, a ton of opportunity. And I think as we continue to get the rest of the -- people want to buy certain things. If we get the rest of the portfolio filled out, I think there's really nice upside for us over the course of the year.

Bill Chappell -- Truist Securities -- Analyst

Got it. And you talked about kind of pushing out some of the new store openings. Wondering a little bit, and I might have asked this before about innovation and, you know, even kind of SKU count expansion. Have you done any near-term adjustments with everything that went on in the quarter where you need to push that out even further just to increase throughput of the most popular SKUs?

Scott Morris -- Chief Operating Officer

What we've had -- Billy, do you want to go ahead?

Billy Cyr -- Chief Executive Officer

No, no, I was going to say go ahead.

Scott Morris -- Chief Operating Officer

Yeah, Bill. So we were -- a lot of our innovation this year was actually centered on lines that were not our high-capacity lines. We have a handful of smaller, more capacity lines that enable us to get some of that newer innovation out. We've been able to utilize those.

So it didn't take away from a lot of the capacity that we needed to put toward our base items. So we were fortunate with that. We did get some of that innovation out. There was a little bit of it that did kind of slide, slip, and some of it will even go to next year at some retailers.

But the majority of the innovation will go out as scheduled and as planned throughout the year.

Bill Chappell -- Truist Securities -- Analyst

OK, great. And then just sneak one last. Any updated kind of sense of how much the U.S. pet ownership has spiked over the past 12 months?

Billy Cyr -- Chief Executive Officer

We've seen so many numbers on that, just like you have as well. I will tell you, I've seen numbers that were as low as 2%, and I've seen numbers in the high mid-single digits. The best number I've seen would suggest that the pet ownership -- and I'm now speaking mostly about dogs, was up like 3%, maybe a little bit more than 3%. There was a big pull forward last year, but I don't believe the numbers that said it was a whole lot more than.

I mean if you got me to four, you know, I'd be surprised.

Scott Morris -- Chief Operating Officer

Yeah. Yeah. The other thing on the pet ownership piece. I saw a study that was done recently that was really encouraging that not only was there some increase in tests.

There's only so many tests to go around, but there is still pent-up demand. And it still -- it seems like it's continuing. I think, hopefully, people are realizing it's pretty awesome to have a dog or a cat or a pet in your family. And so I don't think it's going away, and it may continue to grow over the next year or so.

Bill Chappell -- Truist Securities -- Analyst

That's great. Thanks for the call.

Jeff Sonnek -- Investor Relations

Thanks, Mark. Bill, sorry, Bill.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Peter Benedict with Baird. Please proceed with your question.

Peter Benedict -- Robert W. Baird -- Analyst

Hi, guys. I guess one question on kind of production. I know one of the slides you had in here, you had about 519,000 pounds a day as the average in April. And I think during the presentation or the call here, you spoke to some improvements coming from some of the Kitchen 2.0 lines, some increase coming in kits itself.

Just trying to get a sense for where you think pound production per day could be as we look out over, I don't know, maybe toward the second half of the year or the end of the year benchmark or however you want to frame it?

Billy Cyr -- Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. I don't think -- I haven't mapped it out in terms of pounds. One of our manufacturing guys might have done that. And it's also very -- we have to be careful because when we use pounds because, you know, we bring in a lot of ingredients, and that's the way we measure the throughput, but it turns into cases and it turns into meals, ultimately, that we feed a pet.

What I can tell you is the chart that we've also included in the deck that shows sort of as you convert it into revenue, that shows what the revenue would be in each of the quarters, is probably the best indicator of what we think we're going to get. Because one of the things that's going to happen as we expand the capacity, one of the lines that we're expanding the capacity on the most and where we're shortest right now is on our Fresh From the Kitchen line. And Fresh From the Kitchen is the highest price per pound of our mainstream items. And so when we start producing that, the pounds won't be as big as some of the other items, but the dollars will go with it.

And so I just caution that using pounds as the only metric to think about our capacity could become a little bit misleading as we get further into the year. But suffice it to say is we're going from where we are today, where we have all of our equipment running, we're now adding shifts. As we add shifts, we pick up capacity first on our bag line, then on our roll lines and then ultimately, we start up another line at Kitchen South, which will be another bag line. So we'll see more of the mix moving near term into rolls, longer term into bags and that will impact both the pounds and the dollars.

Peter Benedict -- Robert W. Baird -- Analyst

OK. That's helpful. Thanks, Billy. I guess the P&L, you now have the loss on equity investment line in there.

I'm not sure if you guys are willing to speak a little more about that and provide some color into that. But since it's in the P&L, I figured I'd ask.

Billy Cyr -- Chief Executive Officer

Scott, do you want to talk about that?

Heather Pomerantz -- Chief Financial Officer

I can.

Billy Cyr -- Chief Executive Officer

Is that Heather?

Heather Pomerantz -- Chief Financial Officer

Sorry, we went on mute. sorry about that. That loss there is representative of our percentage ownership in the investments that we've made reflective of that business' Q4 performance, and that's basically all that we could share.

Peter Benedict -- Robert W. Baird -- Analyst

OK. All right. That's right. And then I guess last question for Scott.

With your social media video today, it's approaching 2,000 views across Instagram and Facebook, how is that trending relative to your expectations?

Scott Morris -- Chief Operating Officer

Yeah. Well, we launched it around 11:00, and I was quickly told that I have no chance for any type of award from the video. So I'm a little concerned, but I'm going to work harder next time. I mean, look, Peter, I think it's been pretty well-received as you kind of go through the comments.

I think, very, very well received, honestly. You'll actually see some people in there like send me a subscription kind of thing or I waited for you. I think it's been really supportive, and I think it's been supportive all the way through, and, you know, it's been -- it's been great to see. Over the next kind of two weeks, this will have a long tail on it.

And we'll be putting a little bit of spend behind it to communicate it out because it's not about vanity. It's about like really trying to be transparent in communicating with our consumers and making sure that people see it. So I think we'll see some -- the numbers grow. And the people that, you know, want to hear about it will get a chance to kind of, you know, see what we're talking about.

But so far, so good.

Peter Benedict -- Robert W. Baird -- Analyst

I think if Andrew Cuomo got an Emmy for his COVID press conference, Scott, you get an Oscar for that.

Billy Cyr -- Chief Executive Officer

You're right --

Scott Morris -- Chief Operating Officer

The thing is I'm not acting. There's no acting going on. Just the real deal.

Peter Benedict -- Robert W. Baird -- Analyst

Well, listen. Well done on that. I think all you've been doing with the letters and now the video, it's great because obviously, it's a tough situation for some consumers, but I think it goes over well. So anyway, I just wanted to flag that for you.

Thanks, guys.

Billy Cyr -- Chief Executive Officer

Thanks.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Jason English with Goldman Sachs. Please proceed with your question.

Jason English -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Hello, there. No clue what that last exchange was. It looks like I've got to go check out my Myspace account and figure out what's happening on social media these days. But I will say, we are one household that is thrilled to have the other five Freshpet once again on a regular basis.

But I may need to go to six different stores. So I'm very happy to see the out-of-stock situation in a better place. On to my questions, a couple of quick ones. Logistics, we talked a lot about it today.

Remind me, what is it -- like how big is it as a percentage of sales? And can you give us order of magnitude in terms of the impact this quarter of what it changed from and to?

Billy Cyr -- Chief Executive Officer

Heather, do you want to take that?

Heather Pomerantz -- Chief Financial Officer

Sure. Yeah. So last year -- so prior year kind of full year is around 8.5%. And, you know, all else being equal, we expect that to continue to go down the scale.

Having said that, we anticipated freight inflation and fuel surcharge inflation of about 100 basis points. In Q1, actually the performance was 300 basis points worse than prior year. So it's about 200 basis points impact for Q1 from the fill rate issue. And if you look at the -- have a chance to look at the chart in the presentation, you can see how it moves the fill rate.

But on the cost per pound right now, we're looking at about a $0.07 per pound on cost due to the issue.

Jason English -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Good numbers. Thank you. And I appreciate the store additions have been derailed by two things. You cited your service levels.

I'm sure COVID has also been a disruptor too in terms of resets and store builds, etc. But as we think about the out-of-stocks, which arguably weren't in plan, I think you thought you'd be up and running or back to better service levels quicker than you were. Have you missed any key windows? So is this just a deferral of when we get the stores? Or is it possible that we just missed until next year? So we just have to move store count out of this year and into next year.

Billy Cyr -- Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Let me -- Scott will talk about the customer dynamic. I will tell you, recall when we gave our guidance, it was the end of February. So we had fairly good visibility about what the customers would be doing.

So the guidance we gave for the year accounted for any of those kinds of shifts that might have occurred. But Scott can tell you a little bit more about how customers are thinking about what will come this year versus next year.

Scott Morris -- Chief Operating Officer

Yeah. So there's -- there are a couple of windows that we did miss because they were -- you know, they were just -- we just couldn't kind of get our -- what we needed to from a production standpoint together. You know, they're meaningful. But as Billy mentioned, they're reflected in the numbers already from a store count standpoint and also from an annual revenue standpoint.

So we're -- I think we're in good shape from that. And we're already -- as people are starting to see some fill rates come back, we're sharing with them, you know, being incredibly transparent on all the information we're sharing with them: what lines we're opening when, how we're opening them up, adding the shifts. I think that they've had a lot of confidence in what we've been communicating, and we're actually back in conversations with a bunch of them on additional opportunities, which some of them will develop potentially later this year, but I think most of it will be -- will really be early next year and kind of the front half of next year. I would think that we would outpace what we've historically done, would be my guess.

Billy Cyr -- Chief Executive Officer

Jason, I think it's also important to note that many of our customers right now are looking at, you know, year-on-year trends that are not very favorable on the rest of the pet food market. And we're growing at a very strong rate. You see there's a chart in the deck that shows literally how big we are now in grocery compared to the other brands and how much our growth rate is for the total category. And so I think if you're a customer and you're trying to figure out where you want to put your investment in the space, we are increasingly an important part of that conversation.

Jason English -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

OK. You invited me to ask you a follow-up on that one. So just the same more. You said the category -- I mean, here's what I heard.

The category -- outlook for the category is not that great for the rest of the year, is what I just heard you say. A year in exception. But my question is why would that be? I mean back to the point earlier, we've got 3% more pets, they're getting larger, they're going to eat more. I get it on pet snacks where maybe people aren't as home as much.

I mean my kids are feeding my dogs treats left and right. They can't wait to get back to school and say, oh, my treat budget. So I imagine pet treat sales go down. But is there reason to be cautious on the overall category?

Billy Cyr -- Chief Executive Officer

The reason is that -- I'm speaking from the perspective of the retailer who saw a fair amount of their business move to e-commerce, and it didn't come back.

Jason English -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Got it.

Billy Cyr -- Chief Executive Officer

So if you're thinking about how you're going to allocate your space at retail, Our Freshpet Fridge is a really good way to invest your space.

Jason English -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Yeah, makes sense.

Billy Cyr -- Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Mark Astrachan with Stifel. Please proceed with your question.

Mark Astrachan -- Stifel Financial Corp. -- Analyst

Yeah, thanks, and good afternoon, everyone. I think I wanted to start with a follow-up to the last question. So you made a pretty, I guess, forceful statement about stay tuned on e-commerce and partners there. Is there any way to think about the incrementality from an e-commerce a customer, maybe even a pure-play e-commerce customer relative to what you would do potentially in a store and how you're thinking about that in terms of flow-through in the model?

Billy Cyr -- Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. We have done a fair amount of work trying to establish exactly what the impact will be in our business. And everything from what we can tell is in the very -- first of all, it's going to be a very kind of slow easing launch. And it's going to -- look, it takes some time for people to realize that it's available in different places, no matter where that is.

So it's going to take some time to kind of have its full impact. We think at the very beginning, it will be as much -- they'll be penetration game. But a lot of it will be kind of moving consumers from, you know, potentially from one place to another. We want to limit at as much as possible that's on our goal, by any means.

Over time, we think the single greatest benefit is it will increase our buying rate dramatically. And I'm talking like a little bit, I'm talking like a multiples. Because when you see someone that is on either some type of subscription or some type of, you know, consistent basis where they're getting a product on a certain cadence, the overall dollars that they spend is significantly higher. So we think it's going to open our buying rate up tremendously, and it won't be something that will just have this year's impact.

It could be also next year and even the year after impact. We have specific dollar amounts that we've kind of put into our budget that roll into our overall guidance for this year for what we're doing in e-commerce. So there's no -- there shouldn't be kind of any upside surprises if we have done our modeling correctly. And I think as we kind of get, you know, some of these launches behind us, I think that we'll be able to kind of share a little bit more detail.

At this point, I think I'm telling you probably as much as I feel like we can share.

Mark Astrachan -- Stifel Financial Corp. -- Analyst

Yes, that's helpful. On the buying rate, just not relating to the last question, just broadly, it was up year on year in 1Q. And I guess, relative to last year, and it's always sort of been thought of at least by me, the household penetration goes up, buying rate comes down because you have people kind of coming in at a lower buying rate sampling rate, however you want to think about it. So what drove the increase in 1Q? Was there people kind of pantry loading from an out-of-stock standpoint? How do you think about that number over the balance of the year? And how do you think about it as well in terms of the incremental that you're talking about in terms of the products, which have been out of stock which also have a higher dollar value going forward?

Billy Cyr -- Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Let me take that. Let me take a shot at that and then Scott if you want to add to it. But first of all, remember, the buying rate number that we quote in the deck is a 52-week number for the -- ending at the end of the quarter.

So the up 3% reflects the past 52 weeks. And our historical run rate has been in the, call it, you know, mid-single-digits kind of run rate. We'd like to see that number up in the 6% or 7% range. It was lower than I would have expected because of the out-of-stocks where basically consumers couldn't find the products that they were looking for.

Is there any hoarding? I would say if there was any hoarding or loading up a lot by consumers, every one of those who loaded up, it was offsetting somebody who couldn't find any other product elsewhere. So I -- my sense is that as we get better in-stock conditions, you're going to see the buying rate go up in addition to the buying rate improvement that Scott mentioned related to e-commerce.

Mark Astrachan -- Stifel Financial Corp. -- Analyst

OK, that's helpful.

Scott Morris -- Chief Operating Officer

Yeah. I think, you know, as Bill was saying, Mark, there's a ton of like there's puts and takes on all of this. So it's like what products that we have available, what do we not have available? Was there hoarding where people, some people couldn't find so they couldn't buy as much over the quarter. I think it's -- honestly, it's a tough one to read.

I would go with what the historical progress that we've made. It's probably a cleaner look. And until our kind of in-stocks get settled out over the, you know, next kind of six, eight weeks when they really get settled out, I think you'll see kind of that real consistent progression how we've modeled over time.

Mark Astrachan -- Stifel Financial Corp. -- Analyst

Got it. I don't know if I'm full. Wanted to ask maybe a follow-up related to that. Have you seen any of your customers kind of push consumers into different products as a result of these out-of-stocks? And how are you addressing that if that had any impact on the business?

Billy Cyr -- Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. You know, look, there's a handful of customers. They've done what they need to do for the business. They have consumers coming into their stores.

We don't have product, shame on us, right? We're not taking care of anybody that way, and they have pushed some people in some different directions. Honestly, going through the comments today, there's not a ton of comments. I mean we usually get, you know, -- we'll get, you know, 1,000-plus comments on when we posted these notes. Most of the people are cheering for us and telling us tried some other things.

I mean you can see it in some of the notes already. I've tried other things, and I'm coming back and my dog didn't like or my dog didn't eat or whatever it may be. So I think once we get ourselves set, once we get the innovation out there over the course of this year, I think we're going to see people coming -- going back to the, you know -- the , you know, the business. And it's frustrating to have some of our customers pushing people in different directions, but I understand it, you know.

And I hope they -- most of them are -- they understand the situation and they're good partners, and we'll work our way through it.

Mark Astrachan -- Stifel Financial Corp. -- Analyst

Got it. All right. Well, thanks.

Billy Cyr -- Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Mark.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Jon Andersen with William Blair. Please proceed with your question.

Jon Andersen -- William Blair -- Analyst

Good afternoon, everybody. Just a few. Most of my questions have been asked and answered. On e-commerce, if you were to add a new partner, significant new partner, how should we think about the economics of that relationship? Do you shoot to be agnostic relative to the overall business? Or are there some distinct considerations there that you might take the incremental households, the incremental buy rate over the long term in exchange for maybe a tighter margin?

Billy Cyr -- Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. So it's interesting. I got a -- early on in my career, I got an incredible lesson on. As you develop a piece of business, make sure it is not margin-diluted if you think it's going to get bigger over time.

And just like everything that we've done at Fresh that we've really tried to be thoughtful and just do things the right way, we are margin neutral with really -- almost entirely across our business, other than Europe, we are very margin neutral. I mean it's amazingly margin neutral. And we've made sure that we want to develop partnerships that are really going to be margin neutral because you can't have a huge piece of business that develops over time, all of a sudden, 10%, 15%, 20% of your business and now you've got a massive margin problem. So you created one opportunity and give yourself a giant hole that's almost impossible to unwind.

So we've worked really hard as we've developed all of our partnerships to make sure that the relationship and the margins look, you know, appropriate for our business. And it works from a value standpoint for the consumer. It works for the partner, our retailer, or e-com partners. And it works for us.

And if you can't figure out how to make it work for all three, you got to go back to the drawing board. And we've done it a lot of times, quite honestly, over the past kind of 10 years, call it. But especially in, you know, in the last moves that we make in the market, you've got to make sure that you're putting yourself in a good spot. Typically, there's one way these margins go over time, and it's down.

So you got to make sure that you're putting yourself in a good position up front.

Jon Andersen -- William Blair -- Analyst

That's helpful. Thank you. Shifting gears, media spend. 10%, I think, last year was the media ratio.

You started out this year with 12% in Q1. I understand the puts and takes around that, but it sounds like the spigot is on for the balance of the year. What's the right way to think about the media ratio for the year and the cadence following Q1?

Billy Cyr -- Chief Executive Officer

So we -- the ratio for the year, we're targeting 12%, you know, in that ballpark is the way to think about it. And we have in the deck, we gave you a pretty clear indication of the cadence that once we're back on the air, which was in April, that the media will be on continuously for the -- basically for the balance of the year and the spending will be comparable in each of the quarters in an absolute dollar basis.

Jon Andersen -- William Blair -- Analyst

OK. Last one for me. Pet specialty, you're killing it in pet specialty. Could you talk a little bit about the dynamics there? Is this a format or channel phenomenon? I mean the category performing well in that channel.

Is it a Freshpet-specific situation? And how long do you expect it to persist? Thanks.

Billy Cyr -- Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. I think that there's a few things that are going into play on that one, Jon. One of them is, I think we put ourselves in a good situation from like a foundation standpoint. Meaning there were a lot of stores with big fridges and a lot of stores now with second fridges, and there's been really nice expansion in pet specialty over the past year or two.

And those -- that's still paying dividends. Because when we have a second fridge, it allows us to get more variety and innovation into the fridge in addition to having more inventory. So it solves a handful of challenges there. I think the other dynamic that we have seen a little bit with pet specialty is I think we are really, really suffering in a few other formats.

And I think people are making a trip, especially the more involved pet parents are making a little few extra trips to a PetSmart or a Petco or Pet Supplies Plus type of store, any type of pet store, and they're finding our products there. And I think that's adding to it, too. But I do think it's a combination of several factors, good base, good foundation, innovation, and then also, I think, some people finding it where they have not necessarily seen it before. So -- and I think this is going to continue for quite a while.

I mean we also know that once people start in the spot, they're pretty darn sticky in the location where they originally found the product.

Jon Andersen -- William Blair -- Analyst

Yeah, that makes sense. Thanks so much, everybody, and good luck going forward.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Robert Moskow with Credit Suisse. Please proceed with your question.

Robert Moskow -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

I had just a couple of quick ones. You might have mentioned in the beginning of the call, like what percent of your COGS is labor. But I wanted to ask again because you talk more than most of your peers about wage inflation and what it takes to get people to get to the -- come to the plants. And you're also expanding.

You have a really successful product. So I'm just kind of curious, are you seeing wage inflation rise to a level that is getting more alarming to you? Or is it just kind of like mid-single-digit kind of inflation that it wouldn't necessarily on its own necessitate, you know, price changes? And then I had a quick follow-up.

Billy Cyr -- Chief Executive Officer

Let me take that, and Heather might add some commentary on how much labor is part of our P&L. But the overall piece is it's not at the alarming level. There is a more of a localized issue that we're addressing here in the Lehigh Valley, where the Freshpet Kitchens are. The Lehigh Valley has become a major distribution hub for northeastern part of the United States.

And so there is a fairly significant number of sizable employers who are fishing in the pond looking for warehouse labor, you know, FedEx, Amazon, Walmart, whatnot, a lot of big warehouses. And so it means the lower end of the market is fairly overfished. And so one of the things we're trying to figure out is what does it take to get the skilled labor that we need and what are the wage rates to do that. We're competitive today.

We're attracting people. The total package that we offer people includes more than just wages. It also includes what we think is a fairly generous benefits package. We feed people and whatnot.

So it's a very good working environment. We want to win on environment, not on the wages. But it is more of a localized, in fact, the way I would describe it. Heather, do you want to give any other commentary on the labor as a part of our P&L?

Heather Pomerantz -- Chief Financial Officer

Sure. So just to be more specific around the implication for this year. So wages are about 60% of our COGS -- or labor and overhead, I should say, about 60% of our cost of goods. And within that, of course, is wages.

We -- low single digits in terms of broad inflation. But just as a reminder, we've also increased our night check premium by $2 an hour. So we have now a $3 premium on the night shift. And that was an on-cost that we've included in our plans for the year, but certainly is an inflationary item that we've -- we've got this year.

Robert Moskow -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

OK. So inflation -- wage inflation is different in Ennis, Texas. It's not quite as acute?

Billy Cyr -- Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. We're going to start doing our hiring in Ennis, Texas second half of this year. We'll have to see what it ends up looking like. It does feel like there's a lot of people moving to Texas at this point.

But when we picked that at a site, we were very comfortable with the wages in that market. And we frankly -- I think we can get very high caliber talent at the wages that we'd expect to pay. So we're optimistic about that.

Robert Moskow -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

OK. And then just last question. You mentioned that you're the top-selling pet food brand in grocery stores. Very impressive.

Is it similar in mass also? Is that implied in those charts too? Or is it a little lower than that?

Billy Cyr -- Chief Executive Officer

No. It's lower than that. So think of it this way is we have the biggest brand. We're bigger than all the dry dog food brands in grocery.

And the reason I called that out was that that's where some of our significant distribution expansion opportunities are. So if you're one of those retailers who have been looking at that data and say, this is where I should invest in on my space. The broader number, when you think about the whole Nielsen Mega-Channel or including in that is mass is that we are the fastest growing, and not just in percentage but in absolute dollars. And that's the second chart that's included in that deck that shows how much our absolute dollar growth is relative to the rest of the brands in the category.

We are growing in absolute dollars faster than everybody else is.

Robert Moskow -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

OK, great. All right. Thanks, guys.

Operator

Ladies and gentlemen, we have reached the end of the question-and-answer session. And I would like to turn the call back to Mr. Billy Cyr for closing remarks.

Billy Cyr -- Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, everyone, for your attention. I want to just leave you with one thought. This is from Aldous Huxley to his dog, "every man is Napoleon, hence the constant popularity of dogs." To which I would add, if you feed him Freshpet, in your dog's eyes, you deserve to be called Emperor Napoleon. Thank you for your interest in Freshpet, and we look forward to talking to you again at the end of the next quarter.

Thank you.

Operator

[Operator signoff]

Duration: 76 minutes

Call participants:

Jeff Sonnek -- Investor Relations

Billy Cyr -- Chief Executive Officer

Heather Pomerantz -- Chief Financial Officer

Ken Goldman -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

Scott Morris -- Chief Operating Officer

Steph Wissink -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Rupesh Parikh -- Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. -- Analyst

Bill Chappell -- Truist Securities -- Analyst

Peter Benedict -- Robert W. Baird -- Analyst

Jason English -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Mark Astrachan -- Stifel Financial Corp. -- Analyst

Jon Andersen -- William Blair -- Analyst

Robert Moskow -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

More FRPT analysis

All earnings call transcripts

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Freshpet, Inc. Stock Quote
Freshpet, Inc.
FRPT
$52.68 (1.52%) $0.79

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
316%
 
S&P 500 Returns
112%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 07/04/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.