When cultural barriers don’t stand in the way, pet owners may accept

insect-based ingredients in dog and cat foods.

When cultural barriers don’t stand in the way, pet owners may accept insect-based ingredients in dog and cat foods. In the United States and Europe, manypet owners have witnessed their dogs and cats hunting insects. Knowing thatdogs and cats instinctively dine on insects may lead to pet owners not havingtaboos about insects as novel protein sources in dog and cat food, even ifthey are squeamish about eating insects themselves. Meanwhile in otherregions, many people don’t carry cultural or religious anathemas againsteating arthropods, which makes insect-based protein in pet food all the moreacceptable.

“Surveys I’ve seen suggest that people, even if they’re not willing to eatinsects themselves, they’re not very opposed to having it in their pets’ dietor in the feed of animals that they then consume,” said Liz Koutsos, PhD,president of EnviroFlight. “I think part of that goes back to the fact thatwe’ve all seen our dog and cat play with a bug and eat it.”

The black soldier fly larvae product that Enviroflight produces smells similarto peanut butter, she said. People expect it to be noxious, but find itinnocuous, especially compared to a tour of an abattoir where other animalproteins come from.

Global acceptance of black soldier fly larvae in pet food

Outside of the US and Europe, people may have fewer cultural taboos againstinsects in their own diets, which could lead to ready acceptance of blacksoldier fly larvae and other insects in pet foods. For example, a company inColombia, Arthrofood, recently introduced a protein powder made from cricketsfor human consumption.

“If you go more towards the tropical areas where insects have probably been astaple of the diet throughout the evolution of people, there’s definitely lessaversion to the concept,” said Koutsos.

“Most countries outside of the ‘west’ are receptive to the concept of insectsas food or feed,” Jeffery K. Tomberlin, PhD, associate professor in thedepartment of entomology at Texas A&M University and chairman of EVOConversion Systems.

“At this point we also don’t know how consumers will react to insects as partof their pets’ diets,” said pet nutrition consultant Mark Finke, PhD. “Indeveloped countries there is a strong aversion to humans eating insects whichlikely would translate over to pets (at least initially).”

Source: Pet Food Industry.com

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