Consumers are constantly looking for more sustainable ingredients for pet food. Insect pet food has increased in popularity in recent years, with insect cat and dog food becoming more commonly found on the market. Insect pet food is defined as any type of pet food which includes insects within its ingredients that are digestible by pets. Currently, most products are designed for cats and dogs, but research and development is continuing to expand in this field.
What insects are used for the production of pet food?
Within the EU, five insect species are authorized for use within pet food. These include house crickets, yellow mealworms, and the black soldier fly. Other sources of insect protein include housefly pupae and cockroaches. All of these options are inexpensive and quick to produce and are more environmentally friendly than meat productions. Black soldier fly dog food is one of the most popular options for dogs and is reasonably easy to find on the market. To add these insects to pet food, they are usually dried and then ground first to create insect meal, which is in the form of a powder. Each insect has its own distinct taste. It can vary depending on whether the insect based dog food was cooked or prepared in a different manner.
Insect dog food
Dog food made from insects is currently the most common option of insect proteins food worldwide . While research is still ongoing into this form of nutrition, insect meal is a rich protein source for dogs. It offers a high level of amino acids in each serving and offers similar nutritional benefits to fish and chicken. For dogs, housefly pupae are easy to digest and have high amino acid content. On the other hand, yellow mealworms are lower in amino acids but very easy to digest. Black soldier fly dog food is a popular option for dogs but is higher in saturated fat. While this may suit some dogs, this insect dog food won’t be appropriate for all animals. Insect based dog food is a good alternative for dogs who are allergic to protein sources commonly found in pet food, such as chicken, dairy, and egg. For dogs with skin issues exasperated by their diet, it’s worth considering dog food made from insects as an alternative protein source.
Insect cat food
While not as commonly found as insect dog food, insect cat food is beginning to gain attention around the world. It’s a good option for cats with gastrointestinal problems, and insect proteins can be used as an alternative protein source. Alternative protein sources still need to offer cats the essential amino acids they need for a well-rounded diet, including taurine for cats. Once the insect cat food is made, it will look just like regular cat food or treats for your animal. The nutritional value of insect protein pet food won’t differ from the usual chicken or fish your cat consumes. While more research is still being completed in the US surrounding insect cat and dog food, insect pet treats are not regulated there, so they can be purchased already. It’s important to note cat treats are not a complete form of nutrition, so even with the insect protein source, they must only be used in conjunction with a balanced diet.
Advantages of insect foods in pet food
There are many great advantages of adding insect meal into pet food. The number one reason consumers are opting for insect pet food is for environmental reasons. As regular pet food requires a huge amount of energy, water, or land within its manufacturing process, there are many concerns surrounding the pollution and effects on the environment this has. Insect and cricket pet food can be produced in a more ethical and efficient manner, with insects in dog food using minimal resources in comparison to traditional methods.
Many pet owners struggle with allergies and intolerances with their pets. If your cat or dog can’t consume meat or fish, cat and dog food made from insects is worth investigating. It offers a great source of protein, especially for cats, as they cannot live on a vegetarian diet. As well as offering high protein levels, insect based cat food and dog food offers many minerals, vitamins, and fatty acids within each serving. It’s no different from providing your cat or dog with a meal made from chicken, pork, or beef. Pet food insects can provide all the protein your pets need while minimizing your impact on the environment at the same time.
Forecast’s volume of insect foods in pet food in the next years
One consideration when discussing insect pet food is the local availability of this pet food option currently. In the United States , insect food isn’t currently available due to AAFCO regulations. However, throughout Europe, there are multiple insect protein dog food and cat food options already on the market. As pet food development lies about one to two years behind human food development, you can expect this alternative protein source to only increase in the upcoming years.
In the UK, Nestle has acquired Lily’s Kitchen. This is a natural pet food company, and is beginning to offer livestock-free options for pet owners. Companies in Europe are selling insect pet food with much success. These produce insects dog food made with insects such mealworms, crickets, and locusts. Customers still struggle to accept insects for their pets in some cases, as we don’t consume them ourselves. However, with 50% of consumers saying they’d rather cut their expenses than their pets, you can be sure they are open to spending on alternative protein sources and more environmentally friendly options. As 20% of the world’s fish and chicken production is specifically for pets, insect pet food will only continue to increase in popularity.
Insect pet food offers many benefits to both cats and dogs and their owners. These protein sources are now commonly available throughout Europe. It’s a great option for cats and dogs who struggle with sensitivities and allergies, and with more education and research, it is likely to become a popular pet food option in the future for consumers around the world.