Environment

Lovebug cat food is the latest to substitute insect protein for meat

Lovebug cat food is the latest...
Made with black soldier fly larvae, Lovebug reportedly provides a "healthy mix" of amino acids, good fats and micronutrients
Made with black soldier fly larvae, Lovebug reportedly provides a "healthy mix" of amino acids, good fats and micronutrients
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Made with black soldier fly larvae, Lovebug reportedly provides a "healthy mix" of amino acids, good fats and micronutrients
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Made with black soldier fly larvae, Lovebug reportedly provides a "healthy mix" of amino acids, good fats and micronutrients
Lovebug will sell for £12.99 per 1-kg bag
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Lovebug will sell for £12.99 per 1-kg bag

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.

Lovebug will sell for £12.99 per 1-kg bag
Lovebug will sell for £12.99 per 1-kg bag

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.

Source: Lovebug via edie

9 comments
wolf0579
They can sell that crap to humans as "tuna fish"... and charge three times what they'd get for it as cat food.

What sells as "tuna fish" now, was cat food forty years ago. Where all the solid, lean tuna meat is going is my question. The pink slime that sells as "tuna" turns my stomach. I recently bought a major local chain's patty sausage. As I was cooking some, the odor it gave off reminded me of burning plastic. Needless to say, I tossed all of it in the trash, and will never buy that crap again. The odor it gave off as it was cooking was literally nauseating.
Daishi
There are a couple of places in the US that use cricket protein for things like chips and protein bars for people but I don't think they are very popular. Also @wolf0579, the freshwater fish species have declined by 76% in less than 50 years and oceanic fish population has dropped 50% since 1970. That's a huge change in what is statistically a very small amount of time. That pace is likely accelerating with population growth and we aren't really on a very sustainable path. I wouldn't be surprised if one of the things It meant is that the tuna industry is having to find alternate sources like farmed instead of fished tuna. At this rate in only 10 or 20 years the oceans might have more plastic than fish.
michael_dowling
$18 for a two pound bag of catfood? The well heeled tree huggers will snap it up.
nick101
My old cat never turned down any insect that crawled into his view, dogs aren't fussy either, maybe bugs are a natural part of their diet? Whatever, I imagine someone could make bug based cat and dog food a LOT cheaper than these guys.
Bob Flint
Our three cats routinely snack on all sorts of insects, chad flies right off the screens, forget the bag.
Baker Steve
Hi from the UK. While sustainable pet food is clearly a great idea before things go really pear-shaped and we start eating the pets instead, I can't see this going down too well with the actual cats. My Burmese tom is super-fussy (his only fault) and turns his nose up at anything short of freshly prepared vole tartare (I jest, but only slightly).
michael_dowling
If you don't mind paying an arm and a leg for bug cat food,it should be fine for your felines. Bugs are highly nutritious,and cats are not fussy. This is good for the planet as well.
Janine Boguslawski
This is a good idea . In China people eat bugs. My grandpa ate worm cheese. So my cat- who catches a bug for a snack once in a while, I guess can have a treat.
Anechidna
So they've covered the nutrients they get from eating meat, not all proteins are equal, it's their amino acids that are the important component.