Alternative proteins for pets are moving beyond just plants to include lab-cultured ingredients, which relieves pressure from the global meat chain. On Nov. 10, Hill’s Pet Nutrition and Bond Pet Foods, Inc. announced a strategic partnership to enhance the sustainability of Hill’s pet food formulas with fermented animal proteins.
"Hill's Pet Nutrition is synonymous with the highest quality and nutritious foods for pets and the collaboration presents a massive opportunity," said Rich Kelleman, founder and chief executive officer of Bond Pet Foods. "Together, we'll be able to reimagine meat-based nutrition for the world's dogs and cats, and we're excited to leverage our technology to develop new, transformative meat proteins for Hill's portfolio."
Boulder-based Bond Pet Foods has been working on a fermented chicken protein since it was founded in 2015. The unique process involves collecting a one-time blood sample from a Kansas hen, Inga, and using that to build a genetic foundation for the protein. Bond then uses food-grade yeast and a fermentation process to produce meatless animal proteins with comparable texture, appearance and nutrition to traditional chicken proteins.
"This collaboration will allow us to explore how we can deliver the precise, balanced nutrition Hill's is known for but in new and innovative ways," said Dave Baloga, vice president of science and technology for Hill's Pet Nutrition. "As we think about how we can help pets flourish and create a better, more sustainable world, we are keenly interested in exploring additional ways to take a science-first approach to pet nutrition. This alternative protein source marks a step forward on our sustainability journey to use science to help provide the best possible care for pets--for today and tomorrow."
In May 2020, Bond launched its first product, a dog treat bar formulated with dry yeast protein using a similar fermentation process. In August 2020, the company announced the successful development of its first cultured chicken protein prototype for pet food. The company said it plans to launch its first fermented chicken products in 2023.
Bond Pet Foods is backed by food-tech venture funds to develop “nature-identical” proteins for pet food, including chicken, beef, fish and other proteins. This partnership with Hill’s is expected to accelerate the development of its fermented protein portfolio.
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