When Just Be Kind was first launched in January 2020, vegan dog food was available in the UK but not all brands available then were fully complete with the correct addition of Vitamin D3, and extra taurine for heart health. In 2021, the vegan pet food market saw a surge in companies either starting up or importing high quality, balanced and very palatable vegan dog foods in the UK. The foods now available that are taking the vegan dog food market by storm are –
1. SOLO VEGETAL dry and tinned food imported by Vetruus (now Nextmune) as a top choice for dogs with animal protein intolerances SOYA FREE | GRAIN FREE | FULLY HYPOALLERGENIC & BALANCED | HIGHLY PALATABLE
2. GRETA dry food imported from Vegan4Dogs in Germany and sold by Just Be Kind for its top quality SOYA FREE | GRAIN FREE | FULLY HYPOALLERGENIC & BALANCED | HIGHLY PALATABLE
3. GREEN CRUNCH dry food imported from VegDog.de by Just be Kind due to overwhelming demand SOYA FREE | GRAIN FREE | FULLY HYPOALLERGENIC & BALANCED | HIGHLY PALATABLE
4. OMNI dry food received 1.3 million Euro investment in December 2021 for their UK based start-up company BALANCED | HIGHLY PALATABLE | PUPPY VARIETY
5. Very ethical company HOWND produced a balanced dry food as well as 3 varieties of tinned vegan dog food in 2021 SOYA FREE | BALANCED | HIGHLY PALATABLE
6. Vet owned company NOOCHY POOCHY launched in 2021 with a very palatable nutritional yeast-based dry food BALANCED | HIGHLY PALATABLE
7. THE PACK launched 3 flavours of tinned food with a very successful marketing campaign and huge financial backing SOYA FREE | GRAIN FREE | FULLY HYPOALLERGENIC & BALANCED
8. DOGOOD launched the UK’s very first homemade fresh and fully balanced vegan dog food in 2021 SOYA FREE | GRAIN FREE | FULLY HYPOALLERGENIC & BALANCED
9. JUST BE KIND Supplement launched in June 2021 providing owners with an option to homecook safely with vet formulated recipes SOYA FREE | GRAIN FREE | FULLY HYPOALLERGENIC & BALANCED | HIGHLY PALATABLE
10. FLEETFUL Recipe Packs offer the owner the easy option of homecooking using a vet formulated recipe pack SOYA FREE | GRAIN FREE | FULLY HYPOALLERGENIC & BALANCED | HIGHLY PALATABLE
11. LILYS KITCHEN VEGAN STEW The first of the large pet food brands to venture into a vegan range SOYA FREE | GRAIN FREE | HYPOALLERGENIC | NO ADDED TAURINE
Five Reports In One Week Of Vegan Pet Food Sales Soaring!
1. The Pet Gazette that releases industry news in the pet world, released this article on the 15th March 2022 –
Image courtesy of Pet Gazette 2022
The article mentions that 45% of those living with dogs said that they were interested in vegan food for their companion animal, and from these, 32% said they would buy it as long as it was healthy, and 13% said as long as it was cost-competitive
Louisianna Waring, senior insight and policy officer at The Vegan Society, said: “It’s important to note that people with companion animals should seek to do what is best for them and any changes to diet should be considered with the utmost care and consideration.
“The Vegan Society’s latest report simply highlights the research that shows some of the ethical, environmental and health benefits that this growing industry could bring. It also provides new insights showing the public perception of the industry, barriers to purchase, and market potential for vegan dog food – and beyond.”
2. A report released on the 15th March 2022 by The Vegan Society looked at the snowballing vegan animal care market
The article shows the popularity of vegan diets and lifestyles is increasing worldwide and this shift in mindset is mirrored in the way we care for the animals we share our homes with.
The Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association estimates that about 59% of UK households shared their homes with a companion animal in 2021. Of these, by far the most common companion animals are dogs (33% of UK households, with an estimated 12.5 million dogs) and cats (27% of UK households, with an estimated 12.2 million cats). The industries involved in keeping these 24.7 million animals happy and healthy are booming, and ethical innovation in this category is on the rise.
A number of businesses have recently invested in the development of vegan foods for cats and dogs. These foods contain no animal-derived products, replacing animal proteins with protein-rich plants and other vegan ingredients, such as grains, lentils, rice, blueberries, carrots, peanuts and pumpkin. Fortification with vitamins and minerals ensures that the micronutrient needs of our animals are met. In 2020, research by Mintel found that 34% of UK buyers of dog food believe it is good for dogs to regularly have a plant-based meal instead of a meat-based one.
Overall, 43% said that they believed it is healthier to limit the amount of red meat eaten by ‘pets’, rather than not limit it at all. Mintel also found that younger shoppers are more open to the idea of vegan dog food: 40% of dog food buyers aged 16–24 were in favour of regularly giving plant-based meals, compared with just 21% of those aged 55+.
3. Vegan Dog Food Sales Surge By 600% In Just 6 Months At UK Start-Up
The article in Plant Based News March 2022 shows how the plant-based pet food industry is flourishing. They particularly mention 2 start-ups from last year – OMNI which is a soya-based dry dog food started by vet Guy Sandelowsky and co-founder Shiv Sivakumar. They were able to raise 1.3 million Euros in January 2022 to fund their growing business as they’ve seen sales soaring by 600 percent in the last few months.
They have sold nearly 90 000 vegan meals for dogs since September 2021, OMNI revealed in a press release. The environmental implications of these sales are far-reaching, given meat production’s role in the climate crisis. They estimate that it has saved 112 000 kilograms of CO2 emissions so far – equating to 590 return flights from London to New York.
London-based food-tech company THE PACK closed a pre-seed investment round of its own last year, attracting financial support from a host of high-profile figures.
English footballer Chris Smalling, former Liverpool and Hull footballer Kevin Stewart, and vegan celebrity chefs Henry Firth and Ian Theasby of BOSH! all chipped in to support THE PACK’s mission of disrupting the meat-based pet food system.
Co-founder of THE PACK, Damien Clarkson, elaborated on this vision in a statement.
“We’re on a mission to encourage pet parents to start thinking of the climate crisis when making purchasing decisions for their dogs and it starts with what we plate up ourselves and our pups,” Clarkson explained.
“We are all living through an ecological crisis and a seismic shift in the pet-food industry can make a positive contribution to tackling the climate crisis.”
4. The ethical age is now
Why should more retailers in the sector become more ethical?
This article featured in Pet Gazette March 2022 and is a discussion with Jo Amit, co-founder of HOWND, where they explain the importance of ethically sourced and produced products and suggest why retailers in the sector should switch to this way of production.
Read Gazette article below
Why is it so important to be an ethical firm?
I hope one day soon this won’t even be a question we need to answer in the pet industry. I was interviewed recently at our stand at Crufts by The Telegraph for being the first vegan pet food brand at the show. I hope that next year there will be more of us exhibiting as the category explodes from niche to mainstream.
Founding a company with ethics at its core will soon be the norm, no questions asked. For me, as a consciously ethical vegan, it is about doing no harm (from the ancient concept ‘Ahimsa’ meaning non-violence or absence of injury) in my business and personal life. HOWND was founded on the core principle of doing no harm, and we are certified by Cruelty Free International, the Vegetarian (Vegan) Society and PETA, among other ethical organisations, since 2015.
To answer your questions about why it is important to be an ethically led company; Business as usual is simply no longer an option. Production of meat for pet food is clearly contributing to the destruction of our planet and a meat only diet, as an example from vets we’ve spoken to, is affecting the health of our dogs, as cases of cancer and obesity are on the rise – which is heartbreaking.
As long as dogs enjoy the taste and are excited to eat their meal then why not add some plant powered goodness to their current food as part of a flexitarian diet to begin with. Even reducing the amount of meat our dogs eat helps reduce the catastrophic environmental impact dogs have.
The pet industry is set for radical change. As vegan pet food gains traction, large corporations are launching plant based products now too, following in the footsteps of smaller, niche brands like HOWND and our counterparts.
I believe that over the next decade we are going to see a seismic shift in pet parent behaviour, as more ethically focused authentic brands emerge onto the market.
People choose to lead a plant based lifestyle due to their ethical beliefs or for health reasons or for both. And we are now seeing the same consumer behaviour mirrored in the purchasing behaviour of pet parents for their companion animals.
Consumers, especially the younger more woke generation, are demonstrating in their purchasing behaviour that the lifestyle they lead or strive for is ethical. This can mean purchasing clothes in second hand shops, acquiring higher quality items with longevity, eating plant based food instead of meat, fish or dairy, and if they are pet parents, then ensuring the purchases they make for their companion animals are certifiably free from cruelty to other animals and have low environmental impact.
We love our animals. They are family, right? Our best friends, our fur kids. We need to ask ourselves, why do we love our pets and care for their welfare, but choose to turn a blind eye to the suffering of other sentient animals, like livestock?
If dogs can now be fed on nutritionally sound plant based diets where they get all the essential nutrients, proteins and calories they need to not only survive but thrive, then people are going to be switching their dogs to these diets: for ethical, environmental, or health reasons or all of the above.
Consumer habits are changing. The provenance of ingredients in pet food is under the microscope. The planet is in perilous danger. Fifty percent of UK dogs are claimed by vets to be obese, and a third are intolerant to proteins derived from meat, fish or dairy.
We are seeing a surge in customers purchasing both our wet and dry Superfood for health reasons. We are hearing about so many dogs suffering from food allergies, and in 2021 alone we, along with four other UK brands launched pet foods that offer commercial, healthy alternatives to meat, fish and dairy proteins.
Do you believe consumers choose to shop with you due to your ethical USP?
The vegan community chose to shop with us because they want to purchase from an authentic vegan brand, as opposed to a meat-based brand that has vegan add-ons. Saying that, we do get a lot of dog parents who want to mix their current food with our Superfood as a healthy flexitarian option. They, together with the wider non vegan and vegan-curious community, return to HOWND because our products do what we claim on pack. Being 100% transparent on our packaging is key to long term loyalty and trust. Using 100% clean plant powered ingredients, we have nothing to hide. On the contrary, we list our ingredients and declarations in the biggest font we can print on pack.
Does Hownd have any other core principles other than being ethical?
We will never put profits ahead of animal welfare (oops that is ethical!)
How was the brand started?
We launched as a Cruelty Free International certified pet care brand in 2013, and rebranded to HOWND in 2015. At the time, we were one of only a couple of companies producing all-natural pet care. The fact we were vegan and developed an award winning vegan paw balm without the use of beeswax gave us the name as the go to vegan cruelty free pet care brand.
Why should more retailers in the sector become more ethical?
Many brands in the sector are actively making more mindful and ethical choices to meet demand from the younger consumer market. The ethical, environmental and health benefits of pet food are more important than ever, as the threat to natural habitats and loss of biodiversity can no longer be ignored. Ethics aside for a minute, some dogs, like people, will naturally do better in terms of overall health on plant based food than they would on a solely meat based diet.
An interesting environmental impact fact: A research study conducted by the University of Edinburgh into the global environmental impact of pet food production, found that an area twice the size of the UK is used to produce dry cat and dog food every year. The results are staggering: annual greenhouse gas emissions were found to be 106 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. If a country produced the same amount of carbon dioxide, it would be the world’s 60th highest emitter of greenhouse gases. The study also found that the pet food industry emits more greenhouse gases each year than some entire countries, such as Mozambique and the Philippines. Yikes!
How do your products maintain optimum health in dogs?
By providing everything a dog needs to lead a long, happy, healthy life. A balanced spread of high quality proteins and nutrients are vital to optimal dog health, and we have all the legally required amounts of vitamin D3 (algae and not lanolin based), taurine, manganese and methionine, as examples, added for a dog to flourish on a complete plant based diet.
It’s fundamental to acknowledge that the source is not as important as the nutrients themselves. HOWND Superfood is highly digestible with legumes that are correctly prepared by experts and all products are vet approved. It doesn’t matter that the essential amino acids and nutrients are plant based as the body absorbs them just as effectively. Our own bodies don’t differentiate if the proteins come from plants. My rescue mutt of ten months has been on HOWND Superfood since we took her in, and she is full of energy and in tip top health after being undernourished and overbred from a young age.
What sets you aside from your main competitors? In the vegan food space, our coexistence with other like-minded brands is helping to grow a niche category into a mainstream one. Currently we are the only brand to offer complete wet and dry food options for adult dogs, with vegan puppy food currently in development. We launched our pumpkin casserole in March 2021 followed by dry adult food and two more wet flavours in August of that year.
We’ve sold circa 150,000 units of stock to date and predicted to sell double that during 2022. Together with the other brands in the category we have saved hundreds of thousands of C02 emissions not to forget the lives of farm animals.
What do you think the future holds for ethically-based products?
Plant based has hit the mainstream in the human space. It is no longer a trend led by activists. The pet space over the next decade will follow suit, I am certain, as more and more people care about the provenance of their pet’s food as they do their own.
5. Sustainable Ingredients in Pet Care
This article published by Euromonitor International explains that
The recent trend toward meat-rich, ancestral diet pet food, which moves the industry in the opposite direction from sustainability, is unlikely to disappear in the near future, with many pet owners believing that dogs and cats are designed to consume meat for optimum health.
However, pet owners are now increasingly seeking products that they perceive to not only be better for themselves and their pets, but also for the planet, highlighting huge growth potential for more sustainable and healthier pet food ingredients. Companies that can seize and invest in this new growth frontier should perform well over the forecast period.
The 5 top reasons that owners choose a plant-based diet for their dogs
1. Many people have observed health improvement in their dogs from properly balanced and supplemented plant-based dog food; particularly in regards to skin conditions and other allergic conditions.
2. Plant-based diets have published research behind the science as shown by Prof Andrew Knight.
3. A diet very high in proteins such as a raw meaty diet means that your dog will not live as long as high protein promotes ageing, while a plant-based diet benefits elderly dogs. Plant-based diets promote longevity as shown by Bramble who lived to a healthy 25 years of age and holds the record for the oldest dog in the UK.
4. It is ethically better, as it doesn’t require hundreds of other animals to die over the course of one favoured dog’s lifetime, just to keep your one pet alive.
5. You will sleep better at night as you are doing what is right to protect our fragile planet. A dog’s carbon footprint on a meat-based diet is the same as driving a 4×4 over a year!
Pets at Home own brand Wainwrights launch a plant-based tinned and dry dog food in their stores
The Guardian features Dr Arielle Griffiths, vegan dog Ruff and other wonderful vegan dog owners
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