Bug-based pet protein now available from Purina

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/11/14/bug-based-pet-protein-now-available-from-purina.html

7 Likes

If insect based proteins are going to be a thing, it would really be better not to muddy the waters by calling it “bugs”.

Especially since true bugs (Hemiptera) make tasting bad an integral part of their defensive arsenal. An insect protein made of actual bugs would be quite a bit more disgusting than something made from crickets.

7 Likes

Good idea. I’ll wait until someone other than Nestle does it.

2 Likes

People will start to say yuck!

1 Like

I just want to say, please no one get all practical-joke-y and feed insects to your [human] friends without revealing what’s in it, because people who are allergic to shellfish may also be allergic to insects. Thank you.

12 Likes

This makes good sense. We’ve had cats for several years, and I’ve had to throw away large quantities of uneated commercial cat foods while attempting to figure out what our semi-domesticated house guests will eat.
There’s something of a discrepancy between the typical protein sources that pet food manufacturers use (cows, pigs, chickens, fish, various seafood, etc) and the sources cats eat in the wild (rabbits, mice, squirrels, birds, lizards, crickets, grasshoppers, etc).
Cats eat several species of creatures that we consider pests. This is probably not a coincidence, because it has a lot to do with why we became allied with them.

18 Likes

I always say the nature’s most perfect cat food is a mouse. Except that wild mice also harbor parasites, so not ideal from that standpoint.

From an ethical standpoint, I’d much rather feed my pets crickets and fly larvae than byproducts from factory farmed pigs, cows and chickens.

Welcome to the community!

10 Likes

I forget who it was but I remember a stand-up routine about cat food advertising “the flavors cats naturally crave”, including beef, as though a cat would naturally stalk and kill a cow.

I assume the only reason for pet food based on beef and chicken is the economics (lots of each cow would be wasted if dogs and cats didn’t eat it). If all humans were vegetarian, cat food would be made from mice. The more interesting question is, how come it’s never made from pigs?

6 Likes

Because there’s more bits on a pig humans will eat, most likely. Even the tails are good if they’re cooked right.

4 Likes

This. Additionally, novel protein sources can be important for dealing with digestive disorders in our furry family members. As with all new things though, introduce slowly.

Let’s hope they formulated these foods to be low phosphorous, as well.

6 Likes

Crickets, sure, no problem.
Purina though… it’s not gonna’ happen.

3 Likes

I have pet mynahs that need protein with low iron. I imagine insect protein would mimic their natural diet closest. I wonder what the iron content is.

3 Likes

Call them “garden prawns” :grinning:

5 Likes

Cats like birds, especially poults, so feeding them with chickens isn’t far away. My cat loves watermelons and also likes offal.

1 Like

We should really stop mis-calling crabs and shrimp etc… as “shellfish” and just call all of these things “arthropods”.

You have an arthropod allergy? Ok. No purina dog food for you either.

On a novel protein for cats front; I have to wonder what sort of issues there’ll be with cross-over allergies from “typical” cat foods that have shrimp as one of the ingredients. We do seem to see many many more dogs with food related skin and GI issues, and their foods tend not to be formulated with shrimp (when was the last time you saw a can of “shrimp cocktail” or “ocean festival” etc… as a dog food option?), so maybe not so much a problem with dogs…

3 Likes

Arthropods make up ~90% of extant animal species and I’ve never heard of anyone having a general allergy to all of them. Its kind of hard to even imagine it

2 Likes

I am excitedly waiting for affordable and easily available insect powder. I love the idea of being able to add a scoop of finely ground insect powder to a bowl of vegetable soup for example.

1 Like

Pet food manufacturers realizing that affluent white folks will likely pay any amount for something like this, and jacking up the price in 3…2…1…

3 Likes

I won’t say I predicted this, but when an NPR show ran a piece about companies raising larvae on agricultural waste for the fish-food market, I thought “dead easy to turn that into pet feed.”

As I just wrote on twitter: Going to be a niche product for environmentally concerned folks at first. Then it will sneak into mainstream brands as “AP animal protein” or somesuch euphamism. (AP = arthropod).

I would have no problem with “AP” finding its way into processed foods that are essentially mystery meat anyway. Whatever is in Hot Pockets, pre-made meat balls, taco “meat.”

Just don’t give me a plate of fried bugs and talk about how “they’re considered a delicacy in many cultures and have delicate nutty flavor.”

3 Likes

Given how many bugs my cats eat, I’m surprised this isn’t cat food.

10 Likes