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  • Pet food is big business.

  • The global pet food market is predicted to be worth $113bn

  • by 2025.

  • But it's not a great business for the planet.

  • A 2017 study estimated that in the United States,

  • pet food is responsible for a quarter

  • of the environmental impacts of meat production in terms

  • of the use of land, water, fossil fuels, phosphates,

  • and pesticides.

  • The US doesn't even have the highest rate of pet ownership,

  • and developing countries are catching up.

  • Now though, more meat-free products

  • for coming onto the market.

  • American biotech startup Bond Pet Foods

  • uses fermentation in the lab to produce cultured protein

  • sources.

  • It launched its first product in May this year

  • and in August, announced the creation

  • of an animal-free chicken meat protein.

  • Last year, US startup Wild Earth released

  • a high-protein, meat-free dog food.

  • Its main ingredient is yeast protein.

  • So far, the company has raised over $16m in funding.

  • British company Yora has taken a different approach.

  • It mixes grubs with oats, potato, vitamins, and minerals,

  • to make the dry dog pellets it's been selling since early 2019.

  • But the alternative market is hindered by price.

  • Vegan dog food can cost far more than meat-based equivalents.

  • And in the UK, insect-based dog food is up to four times more

  • expensive than budget brands.

  • Another challenge stems from the preferences

  • of the pets themselves.

  • Dogs are omnivores and can, in theory, survive on a vegan diet

  • with supplements.

  • But cats are carnivores and need their meat.

  • Finally, it's by no means certain

  • that lab-grown meat would actually be so much better

  • for the environment.

  • Recent Oxford University research

  • found that over the long term, artificial cultured meat

  • production that needs high-energy inputs

  • could actually increase global warming more than some types

  • of cattle farming.

  • The hunt for food that can be loved in equal measure

  • by both pets and the planet look set to continue.

Pet food is big business.

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B1 US FinancialTimes meat dog food protein vegan startup

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    joey joey posted on 2021/04/24
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