Purina debuts pet food with insect protein

pug laying on floor while cat eats cat food nearby
Photo: Peter Cade (Getty Images)

The drive towards environmentally sustainable protein is now reaching the bowls of cats and dogs in Europe. Nestle’s Purina is launching a line of pet food powered by insects, Reuters reports. Other brands like Yora, based in the UK, and Green Petfood, based in Germany, have already embraced this trend.

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“We see increasing demand for diversified sources of proteins for pet food products,” Bernard Meunier, head of Purina in Europe, told Reuters. The new line, called Purina Beyond Nature’s Protein, will launch in Switzerland this month in two scrumptious varieties: One with chicken, fava beans, and black soldier fly larvae protein (!!!) and one with chicken, pig liver, and millet.

These will be available both for cats and dogs at a Swiss retailer named Coop. Coop already sells insect-based food for humans.

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I can’t personally vouch for dogs, but I have definitely seen our cats hunt down and munch on bugs. Pretty efficiently, too. It’s quite impressive. If cats and dogs can healthily munch on this food, I’m all for it. Personally, I’ve eaten a lot of prepared bugs from silkworm pupa, to mealworms, and grasshoppers (my favorite so far being the Mexican version, chapulines).

The BBC reports that insect-based pet food can be healthier than beef in some cases. Cats, specifically, require taurine, an essential amino acid that’s found in meat, fish, and you guessed it: insects. But for now, it’s not cheap. Infrastructure needs to be built to support the farming of the insects, which is a hefty initial investment. Will animals eat it, though? In an informal taste test, a dog named Skwiff (aka a BBC employee’s dog) was happy to chow down.

Staff writer at The Takeout. Also: Saveur Humor Blog Award Winner, professional pizza maker, and insufferable troublemaker.

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DISCUSSION

My cats have been consuming free range insects for years.