Nutritional value. Feed safety. Breed, size, and age requirements. Consumers want to know if your pet food products check all the boxes necessary to keep their pets healthy. And if you’re lucky enough to create a formulation that pleases the taste buds of their animal companions, then your brand will be the first choice of pet parents when they visit the grocery store.
However, all of that goodwill can disappear if your pet food recipes change unannounced. With growing threats to global crops and livestock due to climate change, it’s important for dog and cat food companies to build their brands on sustainable pet food ingredients. Here are the three main reasons why sustainability should guide the creation of your pet food recipes.
Increased global temperatures, growing droughts and unpredictable weather events will strain the global supply chain over the coming years. Worse than that, climate change may push certain crops to their very limits, threatening their survival.
Rice, a staple in many dog and cat food brands, might dwindle in availability as high temperatures and increased rice patty salinity reduce rice production. In 60% of wheat growing areas worldwide, there’s a high risk that extensive drought will diminish yields. Even corn crops may experience withering outputs without the proper soil nutrient management.
That’s not to say that every type of produce will be impacted equally. Early studies show that sweet potatoes may double in size as carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere rise. Seaweed species like Ascophyllum nodosum, which can be used in kelp meal for dogs and cats, appear to adapt and move northward into the intertidal zones of places like Greenland as the atmosphere warms. By transitioning to more sustainable feed products, you can prepare for the worst and still keep customers happy.
Certain feed ingredients have a hefty carbon footprint, making their mass consumption unsustainable for the planet. For example, the meat meal that is often used in dog food can have varying carbon footprints. Producing one kilogram of beef for consumption results in the emission of 60 kilograms of greenhouse gases (GHG).
On the other hand, poultry has a much lower carbon footprint (6 kilograms of GHG per kilogram of food), offering pet food manufacturers a source of protein that is far more sustainable. For other nutrients and organic compounds, fruits and vegetables have a much lower footprint (1.4 kilograms of GHG per food kilogram). Better still, tree nuts (for protein) and seaweed (for prebiotics and antioxidants) actually contribute to carbon capture, offering you with ingredients that slow climate change as they help keep pets healthy.
Even if certain feed ingredients are cost-effective now, they might not remain economical in the future. Volatile pricing is a real possibility as climate change makes the predictability of yields and harvests all the more uncertain.
Crops like corn and wheat are predicted to rise in price as farmers struggle to deliver the same quantities of food, making prices soar. Though scientists are experimenting with gene editing and cross-breeding varietals to create more resilient crops, it’s important for pet food companies to make investments in ingredients with greater stability.
At Tasco®, we preserve the Ascophyllum nodosum stocks along Atlantic coastlines with the sustainable seaweed harvesting practices. Each of our harvesters follows strict harvesting guidelines based on year-round management and monitoring to prevent overharvesting of this natural resource. As a result, we foster greater product reliability for customers, providing them with a nutrient-rich, cost-effective feed ingredient that won’t vanish overnight.
Want to learn more about using seaweed as a sustainable pet food ingredient? Reach out to our team to learn about this marine resource and how it can help you create brand sustainability.