New line in cat food uses insect proteinSaturday 7th August 2021
An interesting piece has appeared in the Daily Telegraph by Tanith Carey about how she changed her cats’ diet from traditional pet food to an insect-based one. Her cats are called Truffle and Claude, and both like the new diet – a diet that’s based on “six-legged creatures, instead of four.” She points out that many traditional cat foods contain highly unnatural ingredients – such as tuna. After all, a cat that wants its breakfast just isn’t in the habit of swimming out to sea, in order to do battle with a tuna fish.
Indeed, having chicken as an ingredient is an unlikely item, too. At the CFZ we’ve seen for ourselves that all four of our cats are scared of our hens, and any cat straying into the chicken run is liable to be set upon by a flapping and squawking avenging fury. Chicken meat in that form just isn’t on your Moggy radar, and the idea of a domestic-sized cat hunting and killing a turkey is even less likely, as even humans have to treat them with some caution.
But back to Tanith Carey’s perhaps-timely piece. Reports have emerged recently of cats dying after a rare blood illness linked to some food brands, and also 20 per cent of meat eaten globally is consumed by domestic cats and dogs. The catfood she’s started serving up to her two cats is called Lovebug, and is made by Mars Petcare – part of the Mars company. Yes, the company that makes the world-famous Mars Bar. Mars’ brands are widespread, and include M&M, Wrigley’s gum, Whiskas catfood, and Dolmio.
I see that Mars is seeking to promote a sustainability model of doing business, which probably explains the product slogan “The Cat Food That Loves The Planet.” However, the company can also lean towards new-style Wokery – such as when the “Woke brigade” on Twitter noisily complained last year about Uncle Ben’s rice having a picture of a benign-looking black man on the packaging. Mars has now rebranded that rice as Ben’s Original, prompting some shoppers – including me – to boycott that new version.
It’s quite possible that the production of this Lovebug line is motivated by more praiseworthy thinking, however, as the farming of bugs in trays obviously uses much less land than beef farming. The company’s claim is that the food contains all of the taste and nutritional goodness of a traditional meat-based cat food, without the traditional meat. Instead, it uses insect protein as its primary source of protein and amino acids.
The larvae are raised in trays in a warehouse in the Netherlands and eat only fruit and veg left over from the human food chain. It seems that in two weeks, one tonne of insects can be grown using a land area of just 20 square metres. Harvesting involves stunning with cold, before being reduced to a fine powder.