The insect species used in all our products are the black soldier fly larvae, chosen for their high protein quality and outstanding sustainability profile. But why are they superior to other protein sources that are commonly used in pet food?
High quality protein
Protein is an important nutrient that dogs and cats need to get through their diet. It is also important that the protein is of high quality so that they can easily absorb the nutrients. An important factor for protein quality is digestibility. Digestibility is a measure of how much of a nutrient the body can absorb. Insect protein has been investigated in research studies on dogs and cats, and has a very high digestibility - higher than, or in line with, other animal protein.
Rich in amino acids
Protein is made up of smaller components called amino acids. All animal species have amino acids that are essential for them, which means that they must obtain these through their diet. Dogs have 10 essential amino acids and cats 11 - the last one being taurine. Our larvae are rich in amino acids, and by eating our complete foods, the dog or cat gets everything they need. Plant-based protein sources may lack certain amino acids, depending on which plants you look at.
It is not always easy to know where the protein source in dog and cat food comes from. Most often it concerns meat or fish, where it can be difficult to know what type of meat is used, where it comes from or how the animals have been treated. We are open with our supplier - the insect farm Protix in the Netherlands. In this way, we can ensure that our protein is always sustainable and maintains the same high quality. All our plant-based ingredients are also traceable and come from the EU.
Free from antibiotics
Antibiotics are used in the meat industry in many countries. In some it is used preventively, and in others to fight infections and diseases that occur in animal husbandry. Our larvae are naturally resistant to disease and grow quickly on their own - which means that antibiotics are never used.
Insects are an incredibly resource-efficient protein source, which provides a completely unique sustainability profile. To produce one kg of protein, greenhouse gas emissions are up to 30 times lower than beef. Also use of important resources such as water is lower, even lower than plant-based protein - compared to soy, 330 liters less water is needed for one kilogram of protein. Artificial pesticides are never used and thus do not enter nature. In addition, you don't have to grow any food for the insects - they make use of plant-based food waste that would otherwise go to waste!
One of the most common questions we get is what kind of insect we use in our products. This is a question we love to receive - we are proud of our insects and could not be happier to share more information about these fantastic creatures. They are the ones who are the true climate heroes and also the reason why Petgood was founded.
What kind of insect is used in the food?
We exclusively use the larva of the black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) as an animal ingredient in our products - given all the health and sustainability benefits, we see no reason to use any other animal ingredients.
Where do your insects come from?
Our insects come from one of the world's leading insect farms, Protix, located in the Netherlands. Our partner has extensive experience in insect farming and has been chosen based on its high product quality and animal welfare standards. With a location in the EU, we can ensure maximum transparency and quality control in production. Protix is powered by 100% renewable energy, from solar and wind power.
What do the insects eat?
The insects eat high-quality plant by-products; a mix of grain, fruit and vegetable scraps from local producers. An example is potato peels from a French fries manufacturer. In this way, they make use of resources that already exist, and we avoid food waste!
How do the insects live?
Our partners make sure our insects get everything they need. They make sure they live in a climate similar to their ideal habitat to ensure their ability to live and express their natural behavior. They live in a nesting material similar to what they would have chosen in nature, and have the opportunity to burrow.
The insect farm uses sensory technology, which ensures that the insects' environment is kept ideal for them: perfect humidity and temperature - they like to be warm!
Do the insects taste good?
Many (including us at Petgood who of course also tasted) describe the taste as a bit nutty. No matter what they taste, they seem to appeal to our four-legged customers, as we get a lot of nice reviews about picky dogs and cats who absolutely love our food!
Research on nutrition and health
Research behind the nutrition and health benefits of insects as a protein source is the basis of our product development, led by our lead vet Dr Nicky Sluczanowski. The latest research shows that protein from black soldier fly larvae is highly digestible and rich in the essential amino acids our pets need.
Today, dogs and cats account for 25% of all meat consumption. Production of animal protein sources has a major impact on the planet. Insects are an extremely resource-efficient protein source compared to other animal protein sources. We tell you more about why this is important below.
Carbon dioxide emissions
The production of protein from traditional sources such as beef, chicken and pork today accounts for large carbon dioxide emissions. The research is clear; reduced meat consumption is a key factor in reducing our climate footprint. A new study from Finland also states that replacing traditional protein sources with insects can reduce our environmental impact by 80%.
Land use and biodiversity
Large areas of land are required to raise livestock and meat-producing animals. More than 80% of today's agricultural land is currently used for meat and milk production. Increased spread of humans and our animal husbandry threatens important ecosystems on both land and water. Did you know that of all the mammals in the world, wild animals today account for only 4%, and much of this is due to the fact that their natural habitats no longer exist?
20 tons of insects can be raised on the surface of a tennis court, and our insect farm can produce 10,000 tons of protein on one hectare in a year! If we start to use our resources more wisely, we can spare more land for wilderness and vital ecosystems.
Feed and food production
Large areas around the world are used to grow feed which in turn is used for livestock, which in turn is used for food... This is an unnecessary detour and a waste of precious resources. In Sweden, two-thirds of the grain that is grown is used for food-producing animals, grain that could instead have been used directly for human consumption. Over 95% of the soy we import into Europe is used as feed for meat-producing animals, and it has often been grown on cleared rainforest land, further contributing to the destruction of natural habitats.
By ceasing meat and dairy production, agricultural land could be reduced by more than 75 percent, an area the size of the United States, China, the EU and Australia combined - and still manage to feed the world's population.
Our insects live only on plant-based food scraps – our insect farm collaborates with local companies and producers, and makes use of food waste. The larvae then efficiently convert the food waste and by-products into high-quality protein, making production circular and very resource-efficient.
Animal welfare and health
Another important factor for many consumers is animal welfare in the meat industry. From an ethical perspective, there are several aspects to take into account, but if we look at the dog food industry as a whole, the lower traceability makes it more difficult for the consumer to know how the animals lived and were handled. Depending on which country the meat comes from, there are different standards for animal welfare and slaughter, and whether antibiotics or growth hormones are used. Antibiotic resistance is today one of the biggest threats to our public health.
During the breeding of our insects, antibiotics or growth hormones are never used, because insects thrive and grow quickly all on their own. The insects are kept in a habitat that mimics their natural, and when it is time to harvest the larvae, this is done by cooling them down so that they go into a natural dormancy and are not aware of further steps. This means that it can feel like an ethically better alternative as a protein source for your dog or cat, for you who yourself have chosen to exclude meat from your diet.
Still have questions? Here are our top insect-related questions and answers!
Where is the insect farm located?
The insect farm is located in the Netherlands. We have chosen to work with this particular farm due to their strong ethical stance and high animal welfare standards. In addition, the farm is located in the EU and through it we can guarantee maximum transparency and control over production quality.
Does the food contain any other animal ingredient?
No, the insects are the only animal protein source in our recipes, and our products do not contain any other animal ingredients.
Are insects hypoallergenic?
Novel protein sources, such as insects, can be beneficial for pets with food allergies. This is because they have not been exposed to them before, which therefore reduces the risk of an allergic reaction. Our products are also gluten-free, which in combination with the hypoallergenic insect protein, makes the products extra kind to the stomach.
Do insects provide enough protein for my pet or do I need to give more of it?
The latest research shows that the protein meal from the Black Soldier Fly Larvae has a high amino acid content and a high digestibility of the amino acids, making this a very high quality protein source. What this really means is that our food covers your pet's need for all essential amino acids and that your dog or cat easily can absorb all the valuable proteins.
The petgood veterinary team together with animal nutritionists have analysed the petgood recipes in detail to ensure that the complete and balanced diets fulfil and or/exceeds the nutritional requirements recommended by FEDIAF (the European Pet Food Industry standard authority). Hence, you do not need to give your pet any additional supplements.
Are insects the only source of protein in the food?
Insects are the only animal protein source in the food. Several ingredients in the food contain protein, such as oats and peas, and these also contribute to the overall protein composition.
Can insects suffer? How are the insects killed?
The studies done on insects' consciousness and ability to feel pain have not been able to prove that insects experience pain or are aware of their own state of mind. However, the absence of evidence is not the same as evidence of absence, so it is important for us that the insects are well taken care of when they are alive, and also allowed to end their lives as painlessly as possible. When the larvae are fully grown, they are cooled down, which puts them into a dormant state, which means that the risk of suffering is minimised. They are then ground down to the protein-rich meal that forms the basis of our dog food and other products.