Pet food carbon footprint
With the topic of life cycle assessment, increasing attention is also being paid to our consumer behavior. But what about our pets? In 2021, there were around 12 million pet owners in Germany. When this figure is linked to the consumption of products necessary for pets, the question arises as to the climate friendliness of pet ownership. As an example, let's take pet food here.
How can the eco-balance of our pets be optimized using pet nutrition as an example?
An innovative solution for this would be to recycle the meat fraction obtained from packaged food waste. According to a 2021 study by Mosna et al, the production of animal feed using these meat fractions causes, on average, lower environmental impacts in terms of greenhouse gas potential (-56.40%), water consumption (-22.62%), land use (-87.50%), and fossil resource reduction (-21.78%) compared to the conventional process.
However, some pet owners choose to feed their pets a vegetarian or vegan diet for ethical or environmental reasons. This diet consists of alternative protein sources such as eggs or soy, legumes, etc.
Insect protein currently seems to be a compromise between a vegetarian and a meat-based diet and is in line with the trend, since for 1 kg of insect protein only 14 kg of greenhouse gases are produced, while for 1 kg of meat protein more than twelve times the amount of greenhouse gases (175 kg) is emitted. So replacing meat protein with insect protein would mean a 92% reduction in greenhouse gases. The dog blog Les Wauz has tested this alternative protein source in 2019.
Pet food can significantly improve the carbon footprint of pets by reducing greenhouse gases through dietary changes and innovations. We at are closely monitoring future pet owner consumption trends in this regard and look forward to investigating the carbon footprint of products made from innovative protein sources such as insect protein in the future.
Mosna, D., Bottani, E., Vignali, G., & Montanari, R. (2021). Environmental benefits of pet food obtained as a result of the valorisation of meat fraction derived from packaged food waste. Waste Management, 125, 132-144. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wasman.2021.02.035
Detzel, A., Krüger, M., Busch, M., Blanco-Gutiérrez, I., Varela, C., Manners, R., Bez, J., & Zannini, E. (2021). Life cycle assessment of animal-based foods and plant-based protein-rich alternatives: an environmental perspective. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. https://doi.org/10.1002/jsfa.11417