Title: Pet food will change radically and this is how: introducing Wild Earth
This article is based on an episode of the Red to Green podcast on food tech for sustainability and health. The first season is covering cell-based meat, dairy and seafood. Listen to this and past episodes on Spotify, iTunes and other platforms.
There are a few industries that absolutely could use a disruption, pet food is one of them. Learn about the problems and opportunities in the pet food space, which is actually quite fascinating, how cultured meat could rattle the industry, and hear a fun story of how VC and angel investor Ryan was forced to eat a 6-dog-meals equivalent of his own dog food. Learn how cultured meat could disrupt the industry…
Animal ag has the biggest carbon footprint and a quarter of that is due to pet food and changing this through plant and cell-based meat can change that.
Ryan: bought some lab equipment after the recession, started the bio hcaker movement – “Im a low cost science guy”.
The pet food industry issues
a prof as UCSL in US – applys everywhere – 25-30% of environ impact of meat is our pet food. “a mindblowing statistic”. 30% of factory farms in us is making pet food, the risks from disease we are making animals to feed our animals and with overfishing, we are causing a lot of devestation to our oceans. they eat kibble – the precooked food balls – really the protein source doesnt matter as long as its quality protein. He left to start Wild earth to make “better, more sustainable, clean products for pets” it was much more than making a vegan pet food company, it was how do we make 21st century pet food” – reduce environmental impact and the health for pets.
lot of people dont know that animals that are allowed to go into the pet food system, not human system. many animals like cows and chickens who die in the field, if it dies of un unknown cause (cancer etc.) you cant feed it to humans but you can feed it to animals “this was totally shocking to me that we allow the feeding of diseased animals to our pets”. “the entire pet food industry is rotten to its core” – why? because of its protein source, its not that nestle or mars wanted to make bad products but the sources are very bad. “gave me the inspriration to make something entirely different and entirely new based on a protein and plant-based dog food” – three years ago started on the journey
health first, sustainability second
dogs are ominivores, misconceptions they arent carnivores. very similar to us. “that was kind of a starting point to designing a plant-based food” because veganism is a idealogloy. wanted to create a product that was ideally suited to dogs – sustainable, plant-based, clean protein, 10 essential amino acids that dogs require “not just hey its plant-based, but hey its the best dog food you can get for your dog” – plantbased dogs appear to live longer, healthier, than dogs raised on convential-meat based diets.
“if we make a dog food that is focused on really high quality nutrition..not just feeding the animal the base needs but going beyond that. lets add some probiotics, lets add some additonal omega 3s and 6s..” we started to add higher and higher utrion that goes beyond exisitng kibble in terms of how they are designed. still an epidemic of pet obesity, 50% of dogs are obese and just a bit less than that in cats. “health first, then susainability second”.
“you gottta eat your own dog food” – willing to test it on yourself. with the food testing, he didnt know how much he would eat to show how clean and healthy it is. 6 days of dog food, “it tasted like a savory cracker” sublt etaste, dogs have a smell and taste much deeper level. a lot of the pet parents have eaten it.
The first prototype of plant-based cat food
Already have cat plant-based product, wanted to scale the dog foods. have the first prototype, “we want to make sure when we roll something out for cats its really well researched” make sure the cats love it, to test it, and develop it to where up to 90% of the animals like it (even the picky ones). working on flavours, keep your eyes peeled for 2021
First to get mouse meet in cell-based category – startups inspired by this, one of the feedbacks is lots of misconception (50% thought its cool, other 50% thought it was yuck), they arent killing mouse, they were working with commercially available cell lines to see if it was feasible. They decided to focus on more “typical” cell-based meats like salmons, chicken – things that they typically eat. one of leading cellbased companies in this space, instead of reinventing, they are looking for partnerships. lots of product development but will be a partnership, igoing forward in 2020/2021 lots of collaborations, as many as possible who care about healthys sustainable products. “in the progress of starting our first few collaborations as we speak”.
Pet food industry is a 90B dollar industry
humans even a hamburger or hotdog must have right ratio of fats and proteins to get the right taste and aroma. pets are diff- kibble is a protein source, “for humans taste flavour aroma..its more complaicated” the only catch is the price point is lower for pet food so its a balance. we will see early releases of clean based for humans and shortly after for pets. so many broken things, for people who care about sustainability and animals “my personal mission..to tranform the pet food industry..its so much more than just Wild Earth”. he wants the big names to come out with more plant-based products for animals. hoping to lead the industry for change and we hope they change too. the only way we change this massive industry is to do it together. “we are focused on impact” – has to be the entire indystry to change.
for people who are trying to create change, its sometimes hard for others to see the changes you see in your minds eye.
“there was a lot of believe who didnt believe” fast forward three years and now we have a whole host of companies partnering with wild earth. and larger corps are getting involved planning on making plant-based food “i think we have already made a positive impact on the pet food industry”
Check out their website https://wildearth.com/ to find a video of Ryan eating dog food (you wont be dissapointed)