When commercial pet food came on the scene, dogs shifted from getting scraps to having a whole industry cater to their dietary needs.
Their ability to dramatically reduce household waste ended, while driving the growth of the livestock industry. Today, pet food production accounts for 25% to 30% of the environmental impacts from raising livestock, resulting in the need for a solution.
Thankfully, innovative pet food manufacturers have set their sights on black soldier fly larvae and other insects as the protein alternative of choice. With that move, they strive to support dogs’ dietary needs while greatly reducing the impact on the environment. Wondering just how that works? Here’s what you need to know.
Are Black Soldier Fly Larvae a Sustainable Protein Source?
Black soldier fly larvae serve as a truly sustainable, yet wholly nutritious alternative to the meat, poultry, and fish traditionally used in dog food. Unlike livestock, the insects take up very little land. In fact, farmers are able to produce up to 300 tons of insect-based protein in a 3,600 square foot space. On top of that, they subsist on food scraps and do not need any light or water to thrive.
As far as nutrition goes, black soldier fly larvae have ample protein and other nutrients dogs need to stay healthy through every life stage. An ideal unsaturated fat profile proves beneficial as well, as does its ten essential amino acids. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) tentatively approved this insect-based protein’s use in dog food and treats as a result.
Top Ways Dogs Benefit from Insect-Based Protein in Their Foods
Black soldier fly larvae have earned the superfood designation, making them an excellent choice for quality dog food products. As with cricket meal and other insect-based proteins, they have a nice balance of healthy fats, nutrients, and amino acids.
To kick things off, the larvae boast up to 54% crude protein, which allows them to replace livestock products altogether. As for fats, they have 19% polyunsaturated and 21% monounsaturated in their profile. This helps make the insect-based dog food taste great and feel fully satisfying at every meal.
Better yet, the insect-based protein comes chockfull of digestible lipids, plus 10 essential proteins, including:
The amino acids occur in comparable amounts to beef, chicken, and other proteins, helping support your dog’s health from puppyhood through the senior years.
Dogs find insect-based protein made from black soldier fly larvae, crickets, and the like highly digestible as well. Their digestive system quickly processes the food without making them gassy, often resulting in much happier bellies. Protein from insects even helps create a diverse gut micro-biome that further improves digestion over time.
Insect-based dog food does not come with a risk of food-borne pathogens or food allergies. You can simply feed your dog with confidence that the food will support their ongoing health through the years.
How the World Will Benefit from the Switch to Insect-Based Protein
With its ideal balance of protein, fat, and nutrients, insect-based protein can definitely help decrease the world’s reliance on traditional livestock. As that happens, the switch to sustainable protein sources promises to help the Earth heal and benefit people all around the globe. Here’s how.
Free Up More Land for Growing Produce
Black soldier fly larvae take up much less space than chickens, cows, and other livestock, while producing a whole lot more usable protein. With 300 tons of insect-protein coming out of a 3,600 square foot building each year, land usage would drop dramatically. Farmers could then use the extra space to grow more local produce for distribution to their communities, helping fight against hunger while keeping costs reasonable.
Less Greenhouse Gas Emissions Each Year
In its current state, food production across the globe adds 17 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Much of that comes from raising livestock for animal-based foods, resulting in the need for a big change. By switching to insect-based protein instead, it’s possible to drop that figure considerably. With each pound of black soldier fly larvae produced, emissions would likely drop by a half pound or so, taking a lot of pressure off the environment.
Ability to Recycle Food Waste at a Rapid Rate
Black soldier fly larvae don’t just fail to produce tons of greenhouse gases, they reduce waste by eating leftover vegetables and grains. Distilleries can sustainably discard of their spent grains by using them to feed the insects. And vegetable processing plants can do the same by sending their trimmings to the insect farms. As the larvae break down the food waste, they keep it from producing noxious odors plus create much less carbon dioxide than the microbes that would have done the job instead.
In addition to all that, black soldier fly larvae do not pose a threat to the health of humans and their pets if they escape from their farms. They have zero risk of carrying zoonotic diseases, plus do not have the ability to bite in their adult form. They’re also not likely to escape for long anyway due to their inability to live through cold temperatures.
Ready to Make the Switch to Dog Food Made from Black Soldier Fly Larvae?
Although insect-based dog food might sound a bit futuristic, forward-thinking pet food manufacturers are already on the job. At Jiminy’s, we put our all into developing a high-quality dog food made using powdered crickets and grubs.
Our unique formula is nutritious, sustainable, and so rewarding to feed your beloved pets. Want to give it a try? Just take a look at our dog food and treat options to find the perfect combo for your pup.