Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Flying Into The Future With Insect-Based Cat Food

Black fly larvae cat food may be the next big thing
Cats love eating bugs but will they
love insect-based cat food?
So your cat just caught a fly and ate it. Eeeuuu... But it turns out that cats like the taste of bugs, whether they're on the fly or in insect-based cat food.

Researchers recruited 20 taste testers and offered them food that contained either black soldier fly larvae meal or oil. Ugh...

The cats ate both, although they seemed to like the kind with meal better than the food with oil. 

In a world where our cats dine on white meat chicken and fresh caught fish, pouring insect-based cat food into their bowls may seem to fly in the face of convention. But our planet is running out of the resources it needs to feed animals and humans. And if nothing else, insects are plentiful and leave a teeny carbon footprint, if they leave a carbon footprint at all. 

Insect-Based Cat Food: It's All About Sustainability

When you put them all together, our cats' tiny feet leave a huge carbon pawprint. In 2017, pet food manufacturers bought over 16.5 billion pounds of meat, poultry, fish and grains to feed our cats and dogs. That makes them and the food they eat among the largest contributors to greenhouse gases. 

Poultry produces just 265 pounds of protein per acre, and beef produces just 192 pounds. But black soldier fly larvae produce 100 million-200 million pounds of protein per acre. No wonder insect-based cat food sounds so enticing to manufacturers who are concerned about sustainability. 

The other selling point: the little buggers are raised inside and don't contribute to global warming by emitting astonishing amounts of greenhouse gasses. 




In the US, black soldier fly larvae are approved for use in poultry feed. Cat and dog food with black soldier fly larvae as an ingredient is available in Europe and Canada. 


Taking Steps To Reduce Our Cats' Carbon Pawprint

Insect-based cat food is just one step the pet food industry is taking towards shrinking our animal companions' carbon pawprint. Bond Pet Foods is developing clean meat for cats and dogs, or animal protein that's grown in a lab and starts with the cells from a live animal. And Purina's RootLab, uses cricket powder, invasive fish species like Asian carp, chicken organs that are usually discarded and cod meat that's typically wasted during processing as ingredients in dry dog food. 



Black soldier fly larvae are high in protein. But would they provide adequate nutrition for our cats, who need animal protein? I'm still trying to find the answer to that question. And while I'm looking forward to clean meat for cats, I doubt that I'll ever be able to fill up their bowls with ground up fly larvae. If they want to eat flies, they can catch them themselves!





4 comments:

  1. An insect speciest! Behold...science!

    https://www.petfoodindustry.com/articles/8117-dogs-and-cats-readily-accept-insect-based-protein-and-oil?v=preview

    (just having fun ��)

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  2. That's where I found out about the taste testers, although I've written a lot about insect-based cat food. The idea appeals to me because it's sustainable and no animals die to feed other animals.

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  3. I kinda figured you knew the scoop. Like I said, just being playful. I've worked with bsfl for many years now, and eaten plenty myself. My tip would be discard the "fly" connotation (they're nearly a polar opposite to a very long list (if not all) of the negatives we typically associate with flies, and so they truly break that mold.

    That, and they really are one of the best tools we have to go big and solve problems at scale.

    That said, if kitty sticks to crickets, kitty has every right! 😉

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  4. Interesting. It's the word larvae that sort of stops me. But if bsfl provided adequate nutrition for my cats, I'd probably feed it. I care more about the planet and the animals than my queasy stomach.

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