Plant-Based Dog Treats That Taste Like Real Meat! | Bright Planet Pet Dog Treats

ANIMAL INNOVATIONS SHOW - EPISODE 28 - BRIGHT PLANET PET

Plant-Based Dog Treats That Taste Like Real Meat! | Bright Planet Pet Dog Treats

Ever wondered if your dog can make the switch to a plant-based diet?

Just as the vegan and vegetarian movements have surged for humans, the concept of getting their companion animals to consume plant-based treats has also become a rising trend among pet parents.

To cater to this growing interest, manufacturers of animal treats, like Bright Planet Pet, are making plant-based treats part of their product line.

Bright Planet Pet vs. Competitors

Plant-Based Dog Treats That Taste Like Real Meat! | Bright Planet Pet Dog Treats

What makes Bright Planet Pet different from its competitors, however, is that it aims to save the earth one treat at a time with plant-based treats that taste just like real meat.

Founded by current CEO, Katherine Ellison, Bright Planet Pet is the first in its line to create plant-based treats the way it currently does.

In fact, they named their first flavor as “Better Burg’r Plant-Based Dog Treats”. They made it from wholesome, all-natural ingredients yet tastes like a meaty hamburger.

Katherine and her team are also looking to add two other signature flavors to their product line. The first is what they call “Better Brat”, which is a bratwurst-flavored treat. The other is “Better BBQ Chick’n”, a roasted chicken-flavored treat.

Katherine shared,

“We’ve seen in the past couple of years the popularity of plant-based meat alternatives for humans. Apparently, about a quarter of the U.S. is working on actively reducing their meat consumption. And we know that a lot of the U.S. households have dogs. So, I decided that there’s that intersection of what humans eat and what they feed their dogs. And I saw an opportunity and wanted to bring something to market.”

According to Katherine, the strong demand for plant-based dog foods can be measured by the fact that a number of established pet food brands now offer vegetarian formulae. Also, new companies are coming in to join the competitive dog treat landscape.

Apart from helping improve dogs’ general health, Bright Planet Pet also envisions providing assistance in sustainability efforts, helping address climate change concerns, and reducing dogs’ carbon pawprints.

To this end, the Bright Planet Pet team has set it up so that its products take animals out of the supply chain for long-term sustainability.

The company also makes sure to donate to the Eden Reforestation Project, which plants trees in deforested areas around the world.

Making Bright Planet Plant-Based Dog Treats More Favorable for Dogs

Believing that taste is king, Bright Planet Pet takes steps to ensure that intended consumers will welcome its nutritious treats.

To this end, Katherine and her staff flavored the dog treats with a proprietary vegan blend that has the taste and smell of meat.

She added,

“We take our very healthy base formulachickpea flour, brown rice, sweet potato, et ceteraand then we add in some of those vegan flavorings. When you open the bag, you can really smell that meaty barbecue smell. And so, we know it tastes like meat because when we feed it one-on-one with a meat-based product, many dogsabout 75% of all dogswill pick our plant-based meat treat over an actual meat treat…”

In fact, they have also had a few humans eat Bright Planet Pet’s treats just to check whether they really taste like meat.

The resounding conclusion they gathered from their taste-testers was that the nutritious treats taste like leather, but at the same time, also taste better than other dog treats.

Katherine continued,

So, really, that aroma really hits, and the dog gets that sensory action of that meaty smell. And then our treats are soft and chewy, so there’s a little bit for them to chew on, and it does have that nice meaty taste as well.”

Plant-Based Dog Treats That Taste Like Real Meat! | Bright Planet Pet Dog Treats

At present, Bright Planet Pet is focused more on establishing its brand and helping to convert more dogs to plant-based diets.

Although the team doesn’t necessarily promote a plant-based diet, Katherine believes that it is still a healthy practice that can benefit dogs, just like in the case of humans.

As for some pet parents’ worry that plant-based treats don’t really provide dogs with enough nutrients, Katherine said,

“The difference with our product is that it’s a treat. So, it’s not nutritionally complete and balanced because it’s not meant to be. But you can certainly give it to them on an occasional basis or use with training.”

One great feature about Bright Planet Pet’s treats is that they contain very low calories compared to other products on the market. This makes them a good choice for overweight dogs.

Where Bright Planet Pet Is Going

While Katherine herself is not a food scientist, she’s an animal lover who has worked in the pet industry for more than 13 years.

Using her fair share of knowledge about pet nutrition, pet food production, and animal treat production, she developed the base recipe she wants for Bright Planet Pet’s dog treats.

In fact, she worked with a food scientist to further refine the formula and brought it up to their manufacturer. The manufacturer was the one who added their own suggestions to make the treats even tastier.

When asked about Bright Planet Pet’s roadmap, Katherine shared,

“At this point, we’re focused on retail and building out that assortment, getting our two other flavors online and ready to go. From there, we’ll see what happens, kind of baby steps. But our five-year plan is to come out with two flavors of dog food.”

For a business that was established in the middle of a pandemic and is already selling on Amazon, Bright Planet Pet seems to be well on its way to achieving its goals step by step.

So, you might want to look into Bright Planet Pet’s offerings if plant-based diets are one thing you want to have your pooch try.

 

 

Grab Bright Planet Pet’s plant-based dog treats for your pooch!

Visit their website at www.brightplanetpet.com.

Have suggestions for who we should interview next?

Send us a message at [email protected]!

Katherine: Hi, I’m Katherine Ellison, and you’re tuned in to The Animal Innovations Show.

Chris: Excellent introduction, Katherine.

So, tell us who you are and how you’re innovating and helping animals. I am the founder and CEO of Bright Planet Pet. We are based in Minneapolis, Minnesota and we are the first company to ever make plant-based treats for dogs that taste like real meat.

Chris: Oh, I love that! So, you guys are really trying to make a difference out here now, aren’t you?

Katherine: Yeah, definitely.

We’re really focused on sustainability, climate change, and bringing plant-based options to pet parents and dogs.

Chris: Yeah. So, tell me more about this because I know plant-based— I mean, I myself am plant-based, right. We haven’t quite done that yet with our animals.

But why plant-based? Why is this the angle that you’re going down?

Katherine: We’ve seen in the past couple of years the popularity of plant-based meat alternatives for humans, like companies, like Beyond Burger and Impossible Burger.

And there have been a number of studies or surveys that have been done, and about a quarter of all the U.S. is working on actively reducing their meat consumption. This is a really large portion of the United States, and we know that a lot of our U.S. households have dogs.

So, I decided that there’s an intersection of what humans eat and what they feed their dogs. And I saw an opportunity and wanted to bring something to market.

Chris: Now, as you said, I mean plant-based and vegan, and there are lots of obviously different variations and stuff to this.

And I have heard that this is an up-and-coming trend, I guess, in animal diets as well. So, it sounds like what I’m hearing is correct, right. This is something that more people are looking to do for their animals.

Katherine: Yes, definitely. And you can see that by the number of plant-based dog foods that are coming out; there’s a number of established pet food brands, like Wild Earth, Halo, even the Natural Balance vegetarian formula that are on the market, that are growing market share.

But then, there are also new companies coming in with cans, with dry food. And so, there is a strong interest in feeding a whole plant-based diet or maybe feeding just a portion of a plant-based diet to help your dog’s health and reduce their carbon paw prints.

Chris: Very cool. I like that. So, I got to tell you, the number one question I had was, how do you know that they taste like meat? You must have had to do a lot of testing with these.

Katherine: Our treats taste like real meat.

So, they’re flavored with a proprietary vegan blend that has the taste and smell of meat. So, we take our base formula that’s very healthy—chickpea flour, brown rice, sweet potato, etc. And then we add in some of those vegan flavorings.

And when you open the bag, you can really smell that meaty smell, that meaty-like, barbecue smell. And so, we know it tastes like meat because when we feed it one on one with a meat-based product, many dogs—about 75% of all dogs—will pick our plant-based meat over an actual meat treat.

Chris: Wow. That’s pretty impressive.

Katherine: Yeah. We’ve also had humans eat our treats just to see if it tastes like meat. And the resounding conclusion is, “Well, it tastes better than other dog treats,  and it kind of tastes like leather.”

That’s one that we got from a consumer at a dog park.

So, really, that aroma really hits, and the dog gets that sensory action of that meaty smell. Yeah. And then our treats are soft and chewy, so there’s a little bit for them to chew on, and it does have that nice meaty taste as well.

Chris: Very cool. So, now, you started with treats. Is the goal to eventually move in to more kibble-based food or canned food, or are you really going to focus on the treats?

Katherine: So, right now, we’re focused on treats. We’re focused on building out our assortment of soft and chewy treats.

So, right now, we have the ‘Better Burger,’ which is our hamburger-flavored treats. We also have the ‘Better Brat,’ which is a plant-based flavored treat.

Chris: Nice.

Katherine: And then we have the ‘Better Barbecue Chicken’ treat. So, that tastes like roasted chicken with some yummy barbecue sauce on it. So, we’re working on rounding out and having that three-product assortment.

And then, later on, down the road, next year, we want to expand into other types of treats—so, biscuits, jerky—things of that nature.

And then, our long-term plans are to potentially come out with a food, a dry food. But that’s more in the future. We really want to focus now on establishing our brand, helping to convert dogs to more plant-based diets.

We don’t necessarily promote a plant-based diet, but just like for humans, eating plant-based is healthy, if you eat it part of the time, all of the time, until we feel the same way about our dogs.

Then all dogs can benefit from eating some plant-based.

Chris: So, now what made you want to do this?

Katherine: I was actually between jobs. I was laid off last summer due to an acquisition of the company I worked for previously.

So, I found myself with a lot of time. And I also had thought of this idea a couple of years prior. And, as I had been looking for a job, I was kind of talking to companies. And I spoke to one company, and they asked me, “What’s your great idea?”

And so, I told them what my great idea was, and they wanted me to bring that to life for them. Instead, I decided to bring it to life for myself.

So, I launched the company. We’re 100%-owned just by myself and my husband. We haven’t received any external funding besides our kickstarter.

So, yeah, I had the time. And I had the vision. And so, I decided to make it a reality.

Chris: Now, did you guys come up with these formulas for yourself? Are you a scientist on the side where you kind of try the different variations of things?

Katherine: I’m not a food scientist, but I am an animal lover, and I’ve worked in the pet industry for over 13 years. So, I do know a fair share about nutrition. I know about production.

I used to cook for one of my dogs a homemade traditional Chinese medicine diet, which actually really helped him with some of his problems.

So in general, I just have a large amount of interest in pet nutrition. And for the past 5 or 6 years, I’ve been working in pet food and treat manufacturing. So, I had enough knowledge, and I knew what I was looking for.

So, I was able to develop kind of a base recipe of what I was looking for in my treats. And then I worked with a food scientist to help me refine that. And then we brought that to our current manufacturer.

And then they helped continue to refine it based on their production needs and some additional little things that they thought we could add to the treat that would make it more tasty.

Chris: Sounds like your background in this really helped to jump-start, get you going down this path, and you’ve got a plan now for what you want to do and the next types of treats you want to do, compostable bag, giving back to the environment. What’s your roadmap look like?

Katherine: So, a roadmap. Today, we are working on retail distribution. Right now, we’re primarily selling on e-commerce, but we really want to focus on retail.

We know that our product is unique and different,  and we want you to be shopping at your pet store, and you see our product, you’re like, “Wait a second. What is this? This looks interesting.”

So, we’re focusing on retail distribution. We’re potentially going to be working with some national retailers to bring our products to the shelf, as well as we’re having some international conversations.

So, at this point, we’re focused on retail and building out that assortment, getting our two other flavors online and ready to go. And then from there, we’ll see what happens.

Kind of trying to take baby steps, but our five-year plan is to come out with two flavors of dog food.

Chris: Wow. That’s really impressive.

I mean, it seems like you’ve come so far in just a short amount of time. I’m sure within five years, you can definitely do that.

Katherine: I’m lucky that I have a lot of great people in my network. So, when I decided to create this company and create these treats, I basically knew and trusted everyone in my network that could help me bring this to life.

So, I worked with a lot of—just friends that I’ve worked with previously, as well as some new companies to help me. So, yeah, it’s been an awesome journey.

Chris: Now, how did you come up with the name?

Katherine: Oh, the name. I had that name in my mind for a while.

We are really focused on the planet, obviously, our focus is on sustainability. And really, when you think about what does a Bright Planet look like? We want our Earth to be bright. We want it to be vibrant. We want it to be inhabitable.

It just kind of just like this happy, happy name. And it went together so well. So, I just kind of thought of it off the top of my head. I did some other naming exercises.

The real ticket, as many entrepreneurs would know, is that the domain was available. The Instagram handle is available. Facebook is not trademarked.

Katherine: We are working on our trademark right now. So, it just seemed to kinda fit perfectly together that this name was available in the pet space. There are some other companies that use Bright Planet, one was a solar company. But no one else in the pet industry. So, it just seemed everything fall in place with the name Bright Planet.

Chris: Yeah, and I really love the name and it signifies what’s important to you, right. It is sustainable and you’re trying to pay it forward with planting trees—and that’s what I think is different and unique about you guys.

Katherine: Awesome thing about our treats is that we have a really high-level acceptance on our treats. So, our acceptance level is currently at about 98%. So, they really do—

Chris: Yeah, so, what does that mean? Oh… the dogs will eat them, meaning.

Katherine: Exactly. So, that means when you present one of our treats to a dog. You only give them that option one of our Better Burger treats—about 98% of dogs will eat it. They won’t spit it out, they won’t refuse it. And so, that’s a really good acceptance level and we’re really proud of that. Because we have people telling us everyday on social media that our treats are they’re dog’s favorite. They won’t even eat they’re old favorite treats, they only beg for our treats. And so, we really kinda nailed that flavor combination. And the dogs are definitely loving them.

Chris: Yeah, that’s kinda make you feel really good—that you’ve done something that the dogs really like, right.

Katherine: Definitely, yeah. So, taste test came when it comes to pet food and treats— so, if you don’t have that taste profile that the dog is gonna be drooling over—you really don’t have much to go on. You know, consumers are not gonna go to the store and buy your products again.

So, having that confirmation that dogs truly enjoy our treats. Its amazing and in addition, the owner has this great feeling of: Oh, they’re picking a healthier treat for their dog and for the planet.

Chris: Very cool. Well, I think it’s really amazing what you’ve done in under a year.

If people want to learn more about you, if they want to buy the treats, where can they go?

Katherine: Yeah, they can go to BRIGHTPLANETPET.COM, and you can buy direct from our website.

Our products are also available on Amazon and in the Twin Cities. We’re in a few local co-ops. As I mentioned before, we’re working on our retail distribution.

So, if you follow us on Instagram @BRIGHTPLANETPET, you can see all of our new store alerts.

Chris: Awesome. Well, and we’ll remind our viewers and listeners before we go that if they know somebody I should talk to or feature on the show, whether it’s a product, a service, or even just an idea that’s not yet in the market, go to INNOVATIONS.SHOW, and I’ll have them on, and we’ll talk about it.

So thank you again, Katherine, for coming on. I really appreciate it.

Katherine: Yeah. Thank you, Chris.

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