Consumer concerns about health and the environment are leading to a new animal-free group: pet food.
In between growing pet ownership as a result of the epidemic, owners want to adhere to their diet and preferences of their animals, and are willing to pay more to do so. This has led to the development of products ranging from plant food from plants to animal feed made by insects, say officials and researchers.
“Modern buyers and pet owners want to feed each other the way they eat themselves,” said Michael Lavin, founder of the agribusiness company Germin8, which specializes in animal nutrition and animal health. They also use the same principles on food when choosing their pets.
The causes of this – the link between eating meat and environmental degradation, as well as health concerns on processed foods – point to the rise in “flexitarianism” in humans, while consumers are more likely to follow plant-based foods and eat less meat. milk.
Judy Nadel, co-founder of the Animal Pack Pack, predicts the rise of “flexi-dogian”, or dogs that eat mainly vegetarian and vegan food and occasional meat. “We are facing a climate crisis. It would be inappropriate for dogs to eat meat of any kind of food in the future, ”he protested.
Environmental impact on animal feed production is important, according to researchers at the University of Edinburgh counting that the same agricultural area twice the size of the UK is used to produce dry fodder for animals worldwide for cats and dogs each year.
They found that about half of all dried foods are grains, including corn and rice, and the rest are made from meat or fish. Combined with data from the ecosystem, it found that the annual CO2 emissions of dry food were 106m tons, which, in national terms, could be 60 emissions worldwide, the researchers said.
When it comes to animal health, some owners complain about meat prepared in dog food. “In the human diet it is well known that processed meat is associated with an increase in cancer and obesity, but by 2021 and we continue to feed this as a major part of our dog’s diet,” said Guy Sandelowsky, a veterinarian and associate. founder Omni founder of vegan food.
Big companies are also whipping up other proteins.
Mars, which owns a number of leading companies including Pedigree, Royal Canin and Whiskas, launched the Karma “first” diet with a 60 percent non-GMO diet, combined with animal ingredients in the US this year. In the UK, it founded Lovebug, and insect proteins-date the breed of cats.
The company is also a member of savers at Wild Earth, the leading U.S. pet food retailer that also incorporates pet food made from lab-farmed animals.
The market is still in its infancy, but Tracey Massey, global president of Mars’s pet nutrition unit, expects another type of protein diet to grow by 30 percent by 2025. “It’s very difficult but it’s growing fast,” he said.
The Nestlé’s Purina breed last year introduced dog food that is wrapped around things like insect proteins and fava beans, as well as meat. In 2020, it purchased Lily’s Kitchen-based natural foods, also offering vegetarian dog food and dog food with ingredients such as millet and lentils as well as courgettes and carrots.
But there is controversy over the nutritious dog food. As legal cats animals should not be fed vegetarian or vegetarian foods, according to the British Veterinary Association. The body said not encouraging feeding dog food vegetables, although it was possible, according to Justine Shotton, president of BVA.
“Currently, there is not much research into the evidence of pet food that meets the needs of dogs,” said Shotton, who added that pet owners who are interested in vegetarian or pet food should consult with their vet first. He said all owners have a responsibility to take care of their pets to ensure that they meet the needs of their pets.
Although not vegan, insect proteins provide an alternative to animal health and prevent animal health concerns. However it is still an expensive method and some pet owners do not feel comfortable feeding insects to their pets, according to experts.
Nadel said The Pack worked with animal nutritionists and scientists to make dog food using peas, papayas, kale and grass. “We can deal with foods that are similar to meat-based meats,” he said.
Massey on Mars said that even dogs can survive on animal-free diets “you have to make sure you add other ingredients”, adding: “It ‘s not easy to say’ I am an animal, I want my pet to be. It’s been difficult. We’ve been doing these things for years. ”
Shiv Sivakumar, co-founder in Omni, warned consumers not to prepare their own dog food. But growing up in a meatless family in southern Asia, her pet dogs eat what humans eat and live 14-16 years old, gave her confidence that dogs can do well on animal-free diets.
Nadel is passionate about vegan dog food and expects 50 per cent of all dogs in the UK to embrace human change by 2030. He admits that some customers want to offer their dogs differently and see group food as a complementary approach.
For established pet food companies, it is about to give consumers a choice.
The Internet allows pet owners to try new things “and see what works”, said Massey, adding: “Some of these things come and go – no one knows what they will be. I would say, look at this place.”