Lovebug cat food is the latest to substitute insect protein for meat
More and more, insect protein is being suggested as a more sustainable alternative to meat. Humans aren't the only omnivores, though, which is why a new insect-based cat food should soon be hitting the market – and it won't be the only one.
So first of all, why should cats (or dogs, for that matter) eat food made from insects?
Well, according to the United Nations' Food and Agricultural Organization, meat production in general accounts for approximately 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. These emissions mainly take the form of gases such as methane, ammonia and carbon dioxide, which are burped up by cattle, produced by the fertilizers used to grow livestock feed crops, and released by decomposing manure.
Additionally, large areas of forest are routinely cleared in order to create the pastureland or feed-growing cropland required for meat production. This adds to the greenhouse gas problem, as living trees capture carbon dioxide, keeping it from accumulating in the atmosphere – and they release that stored gas once they've been cut down.
Needless to say, deforestation also destroys the natural habitat of many plants and animals, plus it allows the soil to erode into adjacent waterways, filling them with silt.
That's where farmed insects come in, as they're rich in protein, minerals and fatty acids, yet large quantities of them can be raised in facilities much smaller than the pastures required for cattle. Additionally, insects require significantly less food and water than conventional livestock, plus they produce way less waste.
Given these selling points, several insect-based pet foods have recently hit the market, or are about to. Lovebug is one of the latest, and it's billed as being the UK's first fully insect-based cat food.
Developed via a collaboration between Mars Petcare and sustainability agency Futerra, the dry kibble contains no meat or dairy products. Instead – along with ingredients such as soy protein, wheat, maize and beet pulp fiber – it's made up of dried and ground black soldier fly larvae. Because such larvae are particularly high in protein, they're also being touted as a food source for humans.
Additionally, it is claimed that the larvae feed on vegetable waste that would otherwise be discarded, plus they do so within a facility that is powered entirely by renewable electricity. What's more, the non-plastic bag that the cat food comes in is fully recyclable.
According to Mars Petcare, Lovebug was developed in partnership with the UK-based Waltham Petcare Science Institute, in order to ensure that the kibble is nutritionally complete. It should be available later this Spring – in Britain, at least – priced at £12.99 (about US$18) for a 1-kg (2.2-lb) bag. Interested parties can register for updates via the Source link below.
Other insect-based cat food brands include Tomojo, Catit Nuna, Entoma, Conscientious Cat and Purina Beyond Nature.