Front PageBuilding a UnicornUnicorn: Going to the Dogs and Cats


Unicorn: Going to the Dogs and Cats — 4 Comments

  1. I suspect the obesity issue is less about portion control at meal time and more about the treats and supplemental food added throughout the day. The issue gets compounded with multiple pets in one household and eating habits (grazers vs.hoovers) but since the pets don’t generally serve themselves, you need to condition the human more than the pet.

    The move away from animal protein is intriguing especially as there is a plant based revolution occurring in the natural food world. And there are food companies using insect protein for all the same reasons you suggest (costs, sustainability, impact). But our conventional thinking has been that pets are carnivores and that diet is what is best suited to their needs. Consumers will need some support/rationale for this kind of switch and of course as the old adage goes, “will the dog eat the dog food?”

    • Daniel – good thoughts. To answer your last question first: Anecdotal “evidence” from executives at various cricket & fly protein production facilities is that their dogs love the protein meal – lap it up instantly. Most pet foods (kibble) have a fat-based flavor coating added as a final production process – palatants – like those sold by afb international. Oddly, I ask why a palatant needs to be added to chicken / beef protein based pet foods if pets like beef and chicken.

      Indeed, pets get treats perpetually – one of our solutions is to have the owner enter treat nutrition info into an app (one time). Then, at the end of every day, the app opens and asks the owner to tap the number of treats given. This data is incorporated (as a predictable trend) into the next daily food production for that pet. So, even with treats, our solution endeavors to reduce food calories to end each day with an optimum treat + food calorie total.

      The notion that the APP makes owners increasingly conscious of treat volume may ultimately “train” the owners – some of the empirical data that we will analyze once the installed base our the system is statistically large (reliable) enough.

  2. Depending on whether insects are farmed or taken from nature, this could be a significant contribution to the ecosystem. However, we have over-fished the oceans to the point of near exhaustion; would feeding pets on insect protein do the same for the atmosphere?

    Insects only become a source of protein by eating. Will their shortage from the atmosphere have impact on the ecosystem? Screw up the balance?

    These seem like basic issues about which you no doubt have covered. Still, there is concern. But the premise is commendably novel and promising.

    • Hi Jack – the insects are responsibly farmed – with an extremely high protein density output – in many cases raised on post-consumer organic waste. Pound for pound, compared to beef protein, insect protein requires 1/10th the water, 1/1,000 the land use, produces 1/6th the CO2 emissions, requires 1/11th the feed input, and delivers about 30% higher density protein pet kg. This engineering article is from South Africa – but it’s being repeated worldwide.

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