The world's second-largest manufacturer of pet food is developing a meat-free pet food alternative.
Mars - which is the owner of Pedigree and Whiskas brands has bought a stake in a vegan American food tech startup called Wild Earth. Wild Earth is developing meat-free high-protein food and snacks for dogs. The company uses yeast and ancient Japanese fungi superfood - Koji as a protein source. Both ingredients recreate the taste of meat and the food formula is 100% nutritionally complete. The startup is experimenting with plant-based alternatives for chicken, beef and rabbit.
Pets account for one-fifth of global meat consumption. Latest studies confirm that animal farming and the meat industry are responsible for nearly 15% of greenhouse emissions which contribute to global warming.
Following environmental concerns, customers are looking for more sustainable food alternatives. The demand for plant-based products is growing and the eco-conscious pet owners start looking for vegan options for their pets.
Ben Jacobs, from Mars Petcare's, said: 'We can solve some of the planet's most pressing problems.... [if we] efficiently produce protein while reducing the environmental impact of feeding hundreds of millions of pets.'
The UK's vegan dog food market is currently dominated by smaller producers like Benevo, Halo and Zooks. Benevo claims its food is both vegan and vegetarian approved and offers foods for both cats and dogs.