Grub Club Pets: Sustainability with insect-based dog food

Learn about Grub Club Pets, the year-old company focusing on sustainability with insect protein formulas for dogs in the UK.

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Grub Club Pets is on a mission to provide insect-based pet food and treats that are good for pets and the planet. One beneficiary of that mission is Pip the Scottish Terrier. | Courtesy Grub Club Pets

Alternative proteins is one of the cornerstones of the current sustainability conversation in pet food, and no novel protein is garnering quite as much attention as insects. According to UK Pet Food (formerly known as the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association), there are currently seven species of insects approved by the European Union (EU) for use in pet food. The top three most developed species of farmed insects used are house crickets, yellow mealworms and black soldier flies.

Enter Grub Club Pets, a direct-to-consumer (DTC)-first pet food company that celebrated its one-year anniversary in December 2022 and has one message for pet owners: Bugs taste best.

Grub Club Founders With Food And Dog

Grub Club’s Co-founders Hugh Petit and Alessandro Di Trapani says they’re “out there to have fun and breathe some life into the industry with our exciting brand and products.” | Courtesy Grub Club Pets


“We’ve put health and nutrition at the forefront of what we do and have ensured nothing but quality ingredients in our food,” says Alessandro Di Trapani, Grub Club co-founder. “Pet parents are becoming increasingly aware of what they’re feeding their pets and they’re also paying attention to sustainability. We feel sustainability in pet food needs to go beyond just recyclable packaging and planting trees to offset delivery emissions — we evaluate the environmental impact of every element of our supply chain and aim to deliver the most sustainable product/service at every stage. Fortunately, insects not only deliver on the sustainability mission, but also provide amazing functional benefits to pets. We’ve identified an increasing need from customers for novel protein diets and we’re so excited to provide that in the most sustainable way.”

Grub Club’s BSFL dog food and treats

Grub Club uses black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) as its protein source to create high-protein, hypoallergenic dog food and treats. The company’s treats came first and there are currently three options: Sit Roll Treat Repeat, a daily soft bake treat with a superfood blend of ingredients; Poop Perfector, which focuses on digestive health; and Canine Shine, a skin & coat treat. But it’s Grub Club’s dog food, introduced in May 2022, that really stands out in the company’s portfolio.

Grub Club Treats Line

Grub Club’s treats line focuses on functional formulations with black soldier fly larvae as the protein source. | Courtesy Grub Club Pets

“We launched the brand with a range of three functional dog treats in December 2021 but quickly followed with the launch of our complete dog food for adult dogs, All-Day Buffet,” says Di Trapani. “All-Day Buffet has performed incredibly well since launch as it’s provided dog parents a truly sustainable and hypoallergenic alternative. We’ve seen dogs come to Grub Club with severe skin conditions resulting from canine food allergies and we’ve given them a new lease on life with our novel protein superfood. We’ve included a much higher percentage of fresh ingredients in our food compared to any other insect-based food on the market. This high fresh inclusion does make the manufacturing process a little trickier to get right but we’ve seen it give us huge benefits from a palatability and digestibility point of view.”

The company’s break into pet food has boosted its growth, according to Di Trapani.

“Sales have really ramped up since the launch of All-Day Buffet,” he says. “We’ve averaged 37% month-on-month growth since May 2022 and are seeing increasingly strong trends in our data when we look at customer retention and repeat rates, which is testament to the hard work the team has put into product development, innovation and exemplary customer service.”

It’s not just about the insects: Customer service key to Grub Club’s growth

Obviously, Grub Club has a “hook” in terms of standing out in the market: Insect protein is still a niche segment in the global pet food space and it’s bound to catch consumers’ eyes. But the company aims to be more than a supplier of insect protein formulas.

“While we’re laser-focused on nutrition and health, we also didn’t want the fact that we’re making pet food with insects to be the only thing to make us different,” says Di Trapani. “We are breathing life into the pet food aisle with a fun and exciting brand that embraces all the quirks and idiosyncrasies of our pets and their unique personalities. We strive to be known as a relatable and friendly organization that is creating a community of like-minded people all committed to the prosperity of their pets and the planet.”

As the company grew in its first year, they prioritized consumer feedback to help them tweak their business.

“As a young business, we put huge emphasis on feedback from our early customers,” says Di Trapani. “We regularly run feedback surveys and focus groups with our customers to collect the insights that drive our new product development, brand development and marketing strategies. This feedback loop has helped us evolve as a team and also shaped our new product launches.”

Grub Club Insect Kibble

The company’s insect protein focus means its pet food is high in protein and sustainable, two significant current pet food industry trends. | Courtesy Grub Club Pets


As with any business, part of Grub Club’s customer service strategy is figuring out how to keep a customer once they have them.

“As a DTC-first business, we place a huge emphasis on customer retention,” says Di Trapani. “To achieve this, we know that product is absolutely paramount. However, without a strong focus on retention strategies, value adds and community building, a good product is sometimes not enough to ensure you maximize the lifetime value of your customers. In a hyper-competitive pet food category, we know that customer acquisition will always be costly so we ensure that once people join Grub Club, they never want to leave.”

Scaling up: The future of Grub Club

With so much going on in terms of global economics, it makes sense that the nascent insect protein space would be facing the same challenges are more established sectors of pet food.

“It’s such an interesting time in the industry with so many macro factors at play,” says Di Trapani. “The pandemic fueled a significant increase in the number of pets and the spend on pets so it’s really interesting to see how the market will evolve over the coming years. The cost-of-living crisis and poor macro-economic backdrop here in the UK is also playing a role in driving consumption behavior. Pet care has proven to be a resilient category during market downturns and it’ll be interesting to see how that develops through 2023 as pet parents weigh up costs vs. wanting the best for their pets. This poses an interesting question for us in terms of our pricing and promotional decisions, as well as the interplay across various segments of the market.

“The insect farming industry continues to gather strong investment, which is driving much-needed scale in the value chain,” he says. “With the help of industry experts and the veterinary industry, we can work to build this exciting new category together as we certainly would not be able to do that on our own!”

Fast Facts

Grub Club Logo

Headquarters: London, United Kingdom

Officers: Alessandro Di Trapani, co-founder; Hugh Petit, co-founder

Brands:  Grub Club

Website/Social Media:, @mygrubclub on all social media platforms

Notable: Grub Club’s founders eat more dog food than they like to admit and like playing an active role in testing new products.

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