Nestle's Purina brand is launching a line of pet food using insects, as the world's biggest food group tests more environmentally sustainable protein sources.The Purina Beyond Nature's
The move addresses a trend of people seeking more eco-friendly or allergen-free diets for their pets, and puts Nestle into potential competition with smaller brands like Yora and Green Petfood's InsectDog.
"We see increasing demand for diversified sources of proteins for pet food products," Bernard Meunier, head of Purina in Europe, told Reuters in an interview on Thursday.
He said limited planetary resources and decreasing meat consumption in Europe were incentives to explore new proteins.
Despite the initial cringe factor, insect-based proteins are expected to be an $8 billion dollar industry within the next decade, according to Business Insider (it was a million dollar industry in 2019). They're also generally believed to be a more environmentally-friendly alternative compared to other animal-based proteins, which could be helpful for fighting climate change. As NPR explains:
The production of meat is responsible for releasing a large amount of methane which is a greenhouse gas. The United Nations says the world must alter food production to prevent the most catastrophic effects of global warming. Some companies in recent years have developed plant-based substitutes like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods hoping to lure meat eaters away from eating so much of the real thing by offering a product that mirrors beef or sausage in flavor and appearance.
Insects, which are high in protein, are also viewed as a potential solution for global food insecurity. The UN predicts by 2050 there will be more than 9 billion people on the planet. To feed them all, the UN estimates bugs will need to be a critical source of protein.
And now your dog and cat can get in on the climate action, too.
Flies For Dinner: Purina To Offer Bug Based Dog and Cat Food [Jaclyn Diaz / NPR]
Eating insects will soon go mainstream as bug protein is set to explode into an $8 billion business [Kate Taylor / Business Insider]
Would you eat insects to save the planet from global warming? [Jessica Brown / The Guardian]
How entrepreneurs are persuading Americans to eat bug protein [Jane Wells and Fahiemah Al-Ali / CNBC]
Image: Takeaway/Wikimedia Commons (CC 3.0)