Neo Bites, a sustainable pet food startup founded to improve dog health and the pet food industry's relationship with the environment, announces that Austin, Texas-based veterinarian Dr. Mike Walker has joined as an advisor. Walker will support the company's clinical approach to insect protein dog food and help drive innovation in the space.
Neo Bites launched the first line of functional dog food toppers made from insect protein late last year, including three formulations that supercharge mealtime, each designed to address a specific functional need.
"Neo Bites really stands out as a breath of fresh air in an industry known to repeat itself and lack innovation over the years," says Walker. "We are still early in the alternative protein market, and there is a great window of opportunity to become an industry standard and leader that can position us for excellent growth and brand recognition moving forward."
Insect protein is a complete source of protein, packed with micronutrients and more omega-3s than any other meat, and is the only animal protein with a natural prebiotic. Plus, insect protein is climate-friendly, producing virtually no greenhouse gases.
"Dr. Walker's clinical guidance will enable us to engage with the veterinary community in ways that can positively impact dog health and our planet's health," says Neo Bites co-founder and CEO Wesley Cooper. "We are proud to work together with him to evolve the pet food industry."
Walker, who founded Apollo Veterinary with a mission to reimagine veterinary medicine for Central Texas dogs and cats, has a special focus in dermatology and has seen first-hand how legacy pet food causes issues with allergies and contributes to other common ailments.
"Every day I see clients whose dogs come in with GI upset or itchy skin issues. The main source of allergies in dogs is actually the protein, most commonly chicken, beef and dairy," says Walker, who earned his doctorate from Texas A&M University's College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedicine. "With Neo Bites, we give my clients an alternative that is trusted and truly hypoallergenic."
Legacy pet food is often made with fillers and preservatives, is highly processed and loaded with questionable meats. This lack of essential nutrients contributes to a host of allergy conditions and high canine cancer rates. What's more, traditional pet foods' reliance on animal agriculture is a significant contributor to environmental damage. If America's dogs and cats had their own country, their meat consumption would rank fifth in the world. Meat production generates 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
"Our industry is ripe for change and as my generation is starting to make up a larger majority of the industry workforce and practice owner population, we are asking 'Why?' a lot," says Walker. "Innovative, risk-taking individuals are what drive industries forward and veterinarians are an extremely smart and empathetic group that I see embracing an option like Neo Bites with open arms."
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