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Wild Earth poised to reduce environmental “paw print” with first cell-based meat broth for dogs

2022-12-08 foodingredientsfirst

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Cruelty-free dog food company Wild Earth has developed a cell-based meat broth topper that will be available to consumers in 2023. The cell-based chicken broth, created in Wild Earth’s labs in Berkeley, California, US, uses the company’s proprietary technology and will reportedly be the first cell-based meat product introduced to the pet food industry. 

Although the cell-based broth currently shares a similar nutritional profile to conventional broths, Wild Earth is engineering its product to provide superior health benefits to dogs.

 

“We are working on being able to tailor the nutritional content of our cultivated meat so that we can dial up certain nutrients, for example, collagen, to improve nutritional benefits,” Ryan Bethencourt, the company’s co-founder and CEO, tells NutritionInsight.

“Since our cultivated meat is grown in sterile conditions, there are added health benefits from eliminating some of the environmental contaminants that can make their way into conventional meat, creating overall a cleaner product that has a lower environmental footprint.”

Scalability and consumer acceptance
The US Food and Drug Administration is currently looking at how to regulate cell-based meat alongside the US Department of Agriculture. Meanwhile, scalability remains an immediate challenge in this budding industry.

Wild Earth is tailoring the nutritional value of its cultivated meat to improve health outcomes, notably by increasing collagen content.“Since this is a new way of growing meat, special focus is on the process itself and all the ingredients and feedstocks used to create the final meat product. One of the main challenges is scale – the US alone produces over 60 billion pounds of meat per year, so building the infrastructure to create a consistent supply will be essential,” says Bethencourt.

“Consumer acceptance will also play a major role in making this a commercial success, so there will be an educational component needed to ensure consumers understand cell-based products and their benefits.”

The cell-based broth topper will join the company’s premium line of nutritionally complete 100% vegan products developed by a team of vets and animal food scientists, including Complete Protein Dog Food and Superfood Dog Treats.

Public debate continues around whether dogs and other pets can obtain the necessary nutrients from non-conventional products. However, Bethencourt maintains that plant-based diets – if nutritionally complete and balanced – can be designed to meet all the nutritional needs of dogs.

“Our dry dog food, for example, meets and exceeds all of The Association of American Feed Control Officials’ requirements,” he notes.

Cell-based chickens
Wild Earth’s broth is made from cell-based chickens. The production process begins by harvesting live tissue through a biopsy and isolating stem cells. These cells become the company’s “stock,” which it can then multiply and grow by placing them in a nutrient-rich media that provides all the essential components for proliferation – similar to the process of brewing beer. 

“We also add components that help the cells differentiate into muscle, fat and bone cells to create our chicken tissue and use it for broth production,” explains Bethencourt.The cell-based chicken broth is created in Wild Earth’s labs in Berkeley, California, without relying on the slaughter of sentient creatures.

The company saw its growth skyrocket in 2020 after closing a deal with Shark Tank’s Mark Cuban on the TV show and has since secured a host of big-name investors, including actor Paul Wesley.

“Wild Earth has always been on the cutting edge of plant-based pet food, and I look forward to seeing its continued growth as they step into the cell-based meat space,” says Cuban.

Environmental benefits
Since its inception, Wild Earth has been focused on providing a clean protein, superfood-packed, nutritionally complete dog food without harming living creatures or the planet. It describes cell-based meat as the “next step” in its strategy to transform the pet food industry and reduce its detrimental impact on the environment.

“Our pets’ environmental paw print accounts for 30% of meat consumed in the US and it doesn’t have to. By replacing factory-farmed products with clean, sustainable, cruelty-free cell-based meat, we can tackle the issues of low quality and often contaminated meat used for our pets’ food and transform the sustainability of the entire pet food industry,” continues Bethencourt.

“Cell-based meat is the future of food for us and our pets, and this development marks an important milestone in our mission to disrupt the pet food industry for the better.”Wild Earth’s cell-based meat broth will be available to consumers in 2023 via Amazon, Chewy, Walmart and WildEarth.com.

“Cultivated” meat for humans
Meanwhile, the cell-based meat market for human consumption continues to gather pace. Recently, Israeli cell-based newcomer Forsea Foods netted US$5.2M to scale its cultivated eel, while more than 30 Asia-Pacific stakeholders in the novel foods space agreed to use “cultivated” as the standard descriptor for novel cell-based products.

In October, the Tufts University Center for Cellular Agriculture (TUCCA) called for cooperation between scientists, industry and non-profit organizations to drive the cultivated cell-based meat market forward through a consortium.

“Traditional farming puts increasing pressure on resources and the environment to feed a growing population, while cellular agriculture holds out the promise for a more sustainable and humane solution to growing and sacrificing animals for food,” states TUCCA.

Also, the Dubai Future Foundation Forum recently spotlighted the potential of lab-grown meat in overcoming environmental sustainability and food security crises. With technological innovations in meat cultivation advancing rapidly, cell-based nutrition could be the answer to improved health for people and the planet, futurists suggest.

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