Wild Earth, the Bay Area pet food company focused on alternative protein sources, has developed a cultivated chicken broth topper aimed at making the category more sustainable.
Cultivated meat isn’t just novel tech designed to revolutionize the global food system for humans—it holds equal, if not more potential, for our furry friends.
Wild Earth has been working to revolutionize the pet food industry since its $550,000 Shark Tank deal with Mark Cuban in 2019. Since then, the company, which produces vegan pet food made from cultured koji—a type of protein-rich fungus—has also been working to develop cell-based cultured meat.
Reducing pet food’s paw print
“Our pets’ environmental paw print accounts for 30 percent of meat consumed in the United States and it doesn’t have to,” Ryan Bethencourt, co-founder and chief executive officer of Wild Earth, said in a statement. “By replacing factory-farmed products with clean, sustainable, cruelty-free cell-based meat we can tackle the issues of low quality and often contaminated meat used for our pets’ food and transform the sustainability of the entire pet food industry.”
The company is driven by the environmental and ethical implications of the current pet food industry. Dog and cat food produce around 64 million tons of CO2 per year—the equivalent of more than 13 million cars. The industry is also rife with health risks—much of conventional pet food comes from animals not fit for human consumption, which can mean a higher risk for contaminants and poor-quality food.
“Wild Earth has always been on the cutting edge of plant-based pet food and I look forward to seeing their continued growth as they step into the cell-based meat space,” said investor Mark Cuban.
The broth topper will be available to consumers next year; it’s made from cultivated chicken cells, which eliminates the need for raising livestock. It also reduces the environmental footprint by 96 percent and reduces water consumption by between 82 and 96 percent, according to recent Oxford data.
Cell-based pet food
“Cell-based meat is the future of food for us and our pets, and this development marks an important milestone in our mission to disrupt the pet food industry for the better,” Bethencourt said. “We walk the walk when it comes to taking steps to reduce the destructive impact the industry has on our pets’ health and on our environment.”
Last year, Colorado-based pet food company Because, Animals debuted the first pet food made from cultured mouse meat. “The public launch of Harmless Hunt is a milestone for us, for the cultured and alt-protein industry, for pet food, and for animals raised and slaughtered to feed cats and dogs,” co-founder and CEO Dr. Shannon Falconer said in a statement.
“We are finally able to provide pets with a healthier, safer, greener choice at a price that will be on par with other premium retail products.”
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