A lab-grown pet food startup has launched a vegan dog treat that is easier on the planet’s resources and is said to be healthier.
California-based company Wild Earth develops pet food via cellular agriculture with a goal of providing sustainable, healthy, and cruelty-free alternatives to traditional products.
The company’s first product to hit the market is a dog treat made from koji, a type of fungus native to Asia, which is used in the production of soy sauce and popular Japanese beverages like saké.
Koji comes with all ten essential amino acids dogs need, which makes it a complete protein.
At between 18-51%, animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than all planes, trains, ships and cars combined, and feeding cats and dogs is responsible for up to 30% of meat’s environmental impact in the US.
Wild Earth estimates that they are able to use 90% fewer resources than meat-based products.
“As the first commercially available pet product made via cellular agriculture, our koji treats break entirely new ground for our dogs, our planet, and our industry,” said Wild Earth CEO Ryan Bethencourt in a statement sent to Vegan News.
The company is also working on mouse treats for cats, made from lab-grown cells.
“It became very clear to me that there was no Memphis Meats of pet food,” Bethencourt told Fast Company.
“There was no Beyond Meat of pet food. We really thought that we could transform food for our pets.”
The company is planning on releasing a plant-based dog food in the coming months. The product is currently being taste tested on “volunteer” dogs in homes.
Available in Peanut Butter and Banana Cinnamon, Wild Earth’s first product Good Protein Dog Snacks with Koji is free of animal ingredients, antibiotics, growth hormones, artificial preservatives, additives or “mystery ingredients.”
“We didn’t know quite what to expect when we brought in Wild Earth treats, since Koji is a brand-new ingredient for us, but dogs, almost without exception, love these treats,” said Dianne Krenzer, sales manager/buyer at Berkeley-based Holistic Hound.
“I’ve never seen a new treat go so fast with such unanimous approval. Our customers have been very interested to learn about Koji as a sustainable and humane protein source.”
The products are currently being sold in B&M retail, PupJoy, and the company’s website.
Wild Earth will also be featured on ABC’s “Shark Tank” next Sunday, March 17.