BOULDER, Colo. — You've likely heard of Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, two companies using plant-based protein to recreate the meat-eating experience without animals. Now, a Boulder-based business is taking a similar, humane approach to your pet's diet. And, it already has the backing of a big celebrity. You're in good company with Bond Pet Foods.
More and more restaurant chains are starting to get transparent about animal welfare and ingredient sourcing in their foods.
"Companies on the human-food side were starting to make hay about recreating meat, meat byproducts, through biotechnology," said Rich Kelleman, Bond's CEO. "I was fascinated by it."
It led Kelleman to partner with a team of scientists to launch Bond Pet Foods in 2016. The company uses fermentation technology to give your pet all the protein it needs, without the harms sometimes associated with conventional farm and field methods.
"I just started to ask that question, 'Could there be a better way to give our pets the nutrition they need, without all the farm animal welfare, environmental, and safety downsides?'" said Kelleman.
Bond uses DNA samples from a chicken and couples them with yeast strains to grow the protein in a lab.
"We feed it simple sugars, vitamins, and minerals," said Kelleman. "It starts to grow. Then, when it reaches a certain density and composition, we harvest it."
The end result is a paste-like product that they dry into a brittle, and break down to a powder. The powder can then mix with other inclusions to make kibble.
The concept has already caught the eye of a celebrity. Grammy-nominated singer and animal advocate Sia Furler is now one of Bond's investors and most vocal supporters. She has two dogs herself.
"And, so she was looking for a more responsible, humane solution to feed them, and just serendipitously, she found us," Kelleman said.
"It's just as complete, and bio available, as meat proteins," Kelleman said about the protein powder. "So, your body will absorb it in the same way."
It's a process he hopes will be even more popular with pet food than people food.
"Because for dogs and cats, you don't have to fully recapitulate the meat-eating experience," Kelleman said. "It's not about the sizzle, the mouth feel, the taste, the texture that has to be so perfect for people to embrace it."
It could revolutionize the dietary approach for your furriest family members.
Bond has already partnered with Hill's Pet Food on their research. And, they've released a brand of dog treats first to build public education and trust while they apply for FDA veterinary approval for their foods.