Saturday, May 21, 2022

The rise of plant-based dog food brands in the UK

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With veganism continuing its rise in popularity, many people are looking to make other amendments to their lifestyle. And in some cases, this change means a dietary shake up for their companion animals, moving them away from traditional meat food and onto plant-based brands. 

But can dogs survive on a plant-based diet? 

Research shows that despite popular opinion, dogs can live and flourish on a plant-based diet. And with more and more plant-based dog food brands hitting the shelves, it appears that many owners are happy to give the change a go.

Which brands are best?

With so many brands now easily available, it’s a great time for dog owners to test out a few different flavours and see which their dog likes best. 

For now, we thought we’d share a few of the brands who are most definitely in the race for the UK’s top spot.

Image: Omni

First of all, we have Omni. Omni was the UK’s first plant-based meat dog food, rich in protein and not only approved by vets but also made by vets. The science behind Omni is based on research proving that dogs are in fact omnivorous and have the ability to absorb all the goodness found in plants.

This brand was founded in 2020 by veterinarian Dr Guy Sandelowsky and Investment Banker, Shiv Sivakumar, when they became exasperated by the unavailability of nutrient rich, conveniently available pet food. Through careful development, Omni has created a balanced, 100% plant-based dog food that has a 30% protein base with additional pulses, vegetables and fruits to create a more rounded meal.

Omni claims to not only be good for the dog, but also the environment too, with 61% less water and 92% less land used in its production compared to traditional dog food. 

Speaking confidently on Sky News recently, Dr. Sandelowsky stated that “We use a combination of different plant proteins, including potato protein, pea protein, soya, yeast. And the idea behind that is to really create a protein that’s equivalent to meat in terms of the amino acids. So the building blocks of the protein that the dog needs. Dogs need ten essential amino acids, as they’re called. And we’ve made sure that all of our recipes have all of those proteins so that they can thrive on our diet.”

It was recently announced that Omni has secured £1.1m ($1.5m) in its first funding round backed by; ProVeg International, Purple Orange Ventures, Trellis Road, Kale United, financiar Vera Baker (acting as part of the Atomico Angel Programme), and FoodHack being the participants. The funds will be used to develop new product lines which will include treats that help with specific health conditions. 

Alongside Omni, we have The Pack who also succeeded in gaining financial backing from celebrity chefs, influencers and restaurateurs. The aim of the founding team, made up of Damien Clarkson, Judy Nadel, Michiel Van Deursen, and Russell White, is to create science-based, nutritionist-crafted food that puts a dog’s health above all else. The packaging and names of each meal is really fun but behind each quirky label is a recipe that is balanced and high in protein, covering all the amino acids a dog needs to thrive. Their recipes follow the nutritional guidelines stated by the European Pet Food Industry as well as the National Research Council, ensuring you can be confident in what you’re feeding your dog. 

The Pack Pet
Image: The Pack Pet

As committed environmentalists, The Pack is proud of the dedication they put in to create each product. Working with world leaders in the packaging industry, they conduct carbon assessments to ensure each design is environmentally friendly, and thus minimising waste.

On a side note, if you have a chance to admire The Pack’s website then we fully recommend it. 

The final brand we want to share with you is Noochy Poochy which was set up by qualified veterinarian Lucy McKinna who was struggling with the fact that she didn’t eat meat but was still feeding it to her dog.

Noochy Poochy
Image: Noochy Poochy

“I had fully embraced a vegan lifestyle but I couldn’t find anything on the market I felt confident would provide my dog with everything she needed to stay healthy.”

Vegans may recognise where the name comes from – with “Nooch” or nutritional yeast to give it its proper name, being an ingredient Lucy used to give the food an irresistible cheesy flavour, it seemed the perfect title for the company.

The brand has already witnessed great success, launching at the end of 2021 in health, pet and vegan stores across the country, including zero waste stores – which Lucy provides bulk product to. But there have been hurdles which Lucy has successfully overcome.

“Initially we couldn’t find a vegan source of a key vitamin in dog food, Vitamin D3, normally derived from sheep’s wool. After months of searching, and running our own tests to make sure it was stable throughout the cooking of the recipe, we managed to source the vitamin D3  from algae and could finally get the fully vegan seal of approval.” 

At present, Noochy Poochy are offering 20% off all first online purchases so it’s a great time to give it a try. 

Alice Soule
Alice Soule is a Writer and Editor, and graduated with a BA in Social Policy. She is passionate about veganism and animal rights but equally has a love of sports, reading, and drinking tea. Alice is a perpetual dreamer and recently finished writing her first novel. As yet to be published...because she's already dreaming up the next story...