Pet food giant Purina has chosen Because Animals, a small company making pet food without slaughtering animals and using cultured meat instead, as a winner of their Pet Care Innovation Prize. The prize is awarded to five startups each year working on market solutions to problems in the pet industry.
In early 2019, Because Animals successfully created the world’s first cultured meat pet food : namely, they prepared a sample cat treat made from cultured mouse - mice being the ancestral diet of the cat.
This achievement attracted the attention of investors (they closed their seed round last October with three high profile investors), the media and pet food companies such as Purina.
The Pet Care Innovation Prize is a collaborative effort between Purina’s 9 Square Ventures and Active Capital to support and connect with early stage pet care startups that are currently in market with an innovative business addressing pet and pet owner needs in the areas of pet health and wellness, services, technology, nutrition and emerging innovations.
Because Animals checks all of those boxes and more.
The founders of Because Animals, Shannon Falconer, who has a PhD in biochemistry and Joshua Errett, who has an MBA, met while volunteering at the same cat rescue charity. The pair bonded over their love of animals and a desire to remove factory farming from the pet food supply chain.
They both believe that factory farming has no place in pet nutrition. This is why all Because Animals’ products are made without slaughtering animals.
Instead, the company uses cultured ingredients including probiotics, nutritional yeast and, most significantly, cultured meat to create nutritious, functional and sustainable pet food.
Cultured meat is meat grown without raising or slaughtering animals. It is grown in a way that is similar to how tissue develops in an animal, except that cultured meat begins with a small collection of animal cells that are grown in a nutrient-rich environment outside the animal.
Cultured meat has the same nutritional value and composition as animal -based meat.It is, in fact, meat. Though in contrast to traditional meat, Because Animals’ cultured meat is grown without the use of antibiotics or growth hormones; and without animal suffering and slaughter. And it doesn’t cause environmental damage.
Currently, the Because Animals’ science team is working hard to bring cultured meat pet food to market. This success will give the company an edge towards breaking into the highly competitive $70 billion U.S. pet care industry.
The five startups selected by Purina were each awarded $10,000 and will be offered mentorship to help them grow in the industry. They will also participate in a pet care business accelerator boot camp in Purina’s hometown of St. Louis, MO.
The Pet Care Innovation Prize concludes at the end of February at the Global Pet Expo, the world’s largest pet care industry trade show. There, the winners will present their businesses to an audience of industry influencers, and a grand prize winner will be chosen to receive up to an additional $10,000 in cash and an opportunity to partner with Purina on a project.
Because Animals, an ecommerce, bioscience startup, was first launched in December 2016 by Dr. Shannon Falconer and Joshua Errett, MBA.
To learn more go to becauseanimals.com