A food tech startup wants to grown ‘clean meat’ to feed cats and dogs.
Clean meat – also known as lab, bio, or cultured meat – fiercely splits opinion. It is not vegan, as it relies on using animal starter cells. Some manufacturers (not all) also use bovine serum.
But while some dislike the technology, others see it as a positive step forward.
A number of companies have been working on bringing lab meat to market for human consumption, with Just (formerly Hampton Creek) pledging to have the product on shelves by 2018, and Memphis Meats saying it will be available in 2020.
The version for companion animals could be in shops in the next couple of years.
Cats and dogs
Colorado-based Bond Pets says it wants to make ‘pet food made from real animal protein without the animals’.
According to Founder Rich Kelleman, he and his wife were unable to find food for their companion animals that was healthy and clearly labeled.
He said: “The sourcing of meat proteins is opaque. When we found boutique options that were out there, the science was suspect.”
Kelleman sees his product as a solution to numerous issues, saying that under lab conditions, food can be specifically tailored to meet the requirements of specific breeds.
He added: “I think the other benefit to approaching it and making food in this way…is that we can also potentially mitigate a lot of the safety issues that plague the industry right now.
“When you look at the tremendous number of recalls through the years, certainly a lot of meat proteins are the culprits of a lot of food safety issues.”
Although cultured meat is not (yet) vegan – it does offer some sustainability benefits over traditionally reared meat.
Pet food industry consultant Ryan Yamka told Quartz: “Pet food has always been quick follower to the human food trends.
“So it’s not surprising that you see…what I would call the sustainable- food movement getting into the pet-food side.”