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Should your dog start practicing a flexitarian diet? According to one vegan dog food startup, The Pack, many pet owners now believe the answer is: yes. The company predicts that as more of us begin coupling our climate impact with food, dog owners will start making planet-friendly choices for their beloved pets too.
The Pack, a plant-based food brand in the UK, has made a bold prediction that as many as half of all dogs in the UK could be flexitarian by the end of the decade. Dogs on a flexitarian or “flexi-dogian” diet mainly consume vegan food, but do have the occasional meat-based treat.
Coining the new term “flexi-dogian” to describe this rising group of plant-forward dogs, The Pack says that more dog owners are now becoming aware of the footprint of the pet food industry.
In one UCLA study, researchers estimate that dog and cat food is responsible for around 64 million tons of carbon dioxide every year. That’s equivalent to the GHG emissions from one year’s worth of driving from 13.6 million cars. The pet food industry also accounts for around a quarter of the land, water and pesticide use of the wider meat industry.
“Pet parents are looking for more sustainable and healthy ways to feed their loved animal companions,” shared The Pack co-founder Judy Nadel. “As pet-parents, we want the best for our pup and this means ingredients that do no harm to animals and the planet, whilst tasting delicious—and we think the nation will follow.”
“We expect to see a big rise of flexi-dogians in the next few years, and believe 50% of all dogs in the UK will be flexi-dogian by 2030,” added Nadel, who went on to explain that their prediction isn’t too ambitious when considering broader global consumer trends.
One Euromonitor global survey, for instance, suggests that around 42% of all consumers worldwide are now part-time vegans who actively minimise their meat and dairy intake for various reasons, be it ethical, environmental or health.
“Over four in ten families in the UK currently follow a flexitarian diet or meat-free diet, so why can’t dogs?,” said Nadel.
‘We encourage pet parents to think about the climate crisis’
Ahead of the upcoming COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow, the vegan pet food brand says that it hopes more politicians and pet owners start factoring in the impact of food—and that includes what’s on pets’ plates too.
“We are all living through an ecological crisis and a seismic shift in the pet-food industry can make a positive contribution to tackling the climate crisis,” said co-founder Damien Clarkson. “We encourage pet parents to start thinking of the climate crisis when making purchasing decisions for their dogs, as little changes like turning your dog flexi-dogian can make a big difference.”
The Pack’s range of vegan dog food, for instance, has a 5.52-times smaller carbon footprint compared to conventional beef-based pet food brands on the market, the startup says.
Since the brand’s launch earlier this year, it has attracted pre-seed funding from high-profile names including footballer Chris Smalling and Veg Capital, the vegan VC co-founded by Matthew Glover of Veganuary.
Other vegan pet food brands on the market include fellow UK brand Omni, and US-based labels Wild Earth and V-Planet.
All images courtesy of The Pack.