Two students from Ghent have won a prize at Expedition DO!, the start-up programme of Ghent University, for developing insect-based pet food.
Animal feed is generally made from chicken and beef, among other things, but the two students told VRT that their goal is to find a more environmentally friendly way to produce pet food.
“We want to make animal food more sustainable and we are doing that by developing dog food based on insects,” Achilles Hannecart and Jack Lathouwers said.
Together they’ve started the company Gutsy and won a start-up prize from Ghent University.
“Insects are a sustainable alternative to meat. Dogs won't taste the difference,” said Hannecart and Lathouwers.
“We’re working with the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Ghent University to subject the food to an extensive taste test. That way, we will get the ideal flavour combination and we can guarantee that your dog will like the food.”
The taste and the nutritional value of their insect-based food are the same as in conventional pet food options, thanks to the support of a team of veterinary experts.
“The health of the animal is, of course, paramount,” explained the entrepreneurs. “The food also looks like ordinary dog food. Research has shown that people don't mind insects in food as much if they can't see it, so for the dog food too, we made sure that the basic ingredients are not visible.”
They expect the dog food to hit shelves by March.
“After that, we will also develop cat food, but that will be more work. Dogs are easy eaters, cats are a bit pickier,” they said.