Sustainable Dog Food and Treats to Improve Dog Diet | Jiminy’s

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Animal Innovations Show - Episode 61 - Anne Carlson

Sustainable Dog Food and Treats to Improve Dog Diet | Jiminy’s

Looking for sustainable dog food and treats?

What better way to find pet foods that are to your Fido’s liking than to shop online at Jiminy’s?

Founded by Anne Carlson, Jiminy’s is an industry-leading producer of new, sustainable dog treats that replace animal protein with cricket protein. As a matter of fact, in the words of the founder-cum-CEO, the brand has the potential to be exponentially more eco-friendly compared to traditional, protein-sourced pet food.

Anne added,

“We make sustainable dog food. What makes us sustainable? Well, we substitute the traditional animal protein – so I think cow or chicken – with insect protein. It is nutritious, sustainable, humane and hypoallergenic. It’s pretty fabulous. It has it all.”

 

How It All Began With Jiminy’s

According to Anne, the top reason why she came up with the idea for Jiminy’s brand was all because of climate change.

With years of experience working in the pet industry under her belt, Anne came to realize that the pet market was a really big one, with over 98 million dogs in the U.S. consuming billions of protein on an annual basis.

“With the traditional animal sources, it really is not sustainable. So, when the company I was working for got acquired…I started thinking about what I wanted to do next… And my daughter and I somehow got onto the topic of whether or not she would have kids. And she said, ‘I’m not sure. I don’t think I will, because I’m not sure what the world is going to be like when they grow up.’ And it hit me really hard, right. And I’m like, ‘Oh, my God. She’s talking about climate change.’”

 

This conversation would then motivate Anne to participate in activities that focus on fighting climate change.

 

Jiminy’s Provides Sustainable Dog Food and Treats to Improve Dog Diet

“I know the pet industry pretty well after having worked in it. So, I thought, ‘Well, this is a really good place to start – because with that much consumption going on, and if you think about dogs and cats, they get basically their food, like, 80% to 90% of what they get in a given day. And if you’re lucky, they get some treats, right? So, just by hitting treats, you’re hitting 10% to 20% of their eating occasions during a day. If you do food, you’ve got 80% to 90%. So, you can actually make a lot of impact really quickly,”

she explained.

 

According to Anne, what makes Jiminy’s a “fantastic sustainable and nutritious source of protein for the dogs” is the fact that its treats combine insect protein with plant-based ingredients.

It’s also prebiotic and easy to digest. Aside from that, it’s tasty and packed with nutrients, which makes dogs love it.

 

Sustainability With Jiminy’s

When asked what made Anne and her team use crickets for Jiminy’s ingredients, she shared that it was because of three reasons: less land, less water, and almost no greenhouse gases.

“And the feed conversion is better… A lot of it has to do with their quick life cycle. So, it’s a real short life cycle, just naturally. And then they don’t take up a lot of space, and they’re swarming species, so they like to live together. So, naturally and humanely, they live in close quarters. So, it really works out well.”

 

Jiminy’s Provides Sustainable Dog Food and Treats to Improve Dog Diet

 

To give everyone more insights into the benefits of using crickets in developing the brand’s dog treats, Anne shared a lot of numbers for data. However, if you’re the type who wants to do more of the calculations, Jiminy’s website also comes with a cool eco-calculator.

“Well, it’s kind of a fun way to visualize this. If you go to the eco calculator… you put in the size of your dog, how much they eat per day, and what they were eating…. Then, it’s going to calculate out the savings for you, the land savings, the water savings, and the greenhouse gas savings. And then, it will put it in perspective… It made it less serious, but it helps you to just kind of think about it.”

 

Learn more about Jiminy’s!

Visit their website at https://jiminys.com/.

Have suggestions for who we should interview next?

Send us a message at [email protected]!

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

Chris: Tell us who you are and how you’re innovating and helping animals.

Anne: Well, I am the founder and CEO of a company called Jiminy’s, and we make sustainable dog food. What makes it sustainable?

Well, we substitute the traditional animal protein. So, think cow or chicken, with insect protein. It is nutritious, sustainable, humane, and hypoallergenic. It’s pretty fabulous. It has it all.

Chris: One of the questions I was going to ask you is the name, but now it makes sense. Jiminy’s Crickets, right.

Anne: Exactly.

Chris: I pick up that one pretty fast. Okay. So, do tell me more like, like what insects? Why insects.

Anne: Okay. Well, the reason I got into this, it’s really all about climate change. I worked in the pet industry for many years, and when you’re there, you realize this is a really big industry.

There’s over 98 million dogs in the US. They’re consuming over 32 billion pounds of protein each year. Huge amount.

And with the traditional animal sources, it really is not— it’s not sustainable. So, when our company— the company I was working for got acquired. And that happens a lot in the pet industry.

I decided I wanted to stay in the Bay Area. I live in San Francisco Bay Area and— love it here. I started thinking about what I wanted to do next. And I was talking to my daughter. She and I somehow got onto the topic of whether or not she would have kids. And she said, “I’m not sure.” “I don’t think I will.” “Because I’m not sure what the world is going to be like when they grow up.”

Chris: Wow.

Anne: Yeah. It hit me really hard, right. And I’m like, “Oh, my God.” She’s talking about climate change. And let me think about what can I do to fight climate change? I thought: Well, this is a really good place to start, because with that much consumption going on, and if you think about dogs and cats, 80% to 90% of what they get in a given day. And if you’re lucky, they get some treats, right— 10 to 20%.

So, just by hitting treats, you’re hitting 10 to 20% of their eating occasions during a day. If you do food, you’ve got 80% to 90%. So, you can actually make a lot of impact really quickly. 

And so as I started thinking about it, I ran across the study that said— Insects could be the answer to world hunger. It was done by the UN. And so kind of put it all together and said, “It really is a fantastic sustainable and nutritious source of protein for the dogs.”

Chris: Yeah, and I love the fact that this started with the sustainability angle. Maybe people think, well, yeah, but beef and chicken and fish, right. But why isn’t that sustainable? And why is insects the way to go?

Anne: Well, actually, quite a few reasons: less land, less water, almost no greenhouse gases. And the feed conversion is better. So, if I break that down a little bit.

Let’s talk about land. If you’ve got an acre of land and you put cows on that, you’re going to get about 40 pounds of protein at the end of the year. If you put chickens on it, you’re going to get about 1600 pounds of protein. If you put crickets, you’re going to get 65,000 pounds of protein.

Chris: Wow.

Anne: And if you put grubs— which is one of the new protein sources we’re working with now, 130,000 pounds of protein per year.

They don’t take up a lot of space and they’re swarming species, so, they like to live together— so naturally, inhumanely. They live in close quarters.

Chris: So, then you’re taking these and these are obviously ground up into powder, or something like that— that’s used in the production.

Anne: That’s correct.

So, when they’re harvested, they’re roasted and ground, it basically looks like any other protein powder that you might be working with.

Chris: If you didn’t tell me what it was, I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

Anne: No, you really wouldn’t.

Chris: I was going to say: Have you tried it yourself? 

Anne: Of course. I actually went to an “eating insects conference,” and I’ve tried so many different types of insects. Once you get past the first one, no problem.

Chris: It totally makes sense.

And I have heard about in the human side of things. Crickets, in particular, I think, is what I heard about— being like you said, a sustainable protein that could solve the world hunger problem, and solve a lot of our environmental issues at the same time.

Because people don’t realize we’re— just the cost to the environment, right? Of all these animals— harvesting all these animals, and the gases— and just tons of stuff.

Anne: The water savings are pretty amazing. If you take a dog that’s on a chicken-based diet, and you switch them over to say, our cricket crave, which is our dog food. That one dog is going to save 480,000 gallons of water per year. Just by making the switch.

Chris: For one dog? 

Anne: One dog.

The thing that’s really amazing and actually so important is the nutrition, and— if I could segway a little bit and talk about that.

It is an animal. So, if you think about insects, they’re just a very small animal. But because of that, you get all the benefits of an animal protein. So, a complete protein with all of the essential amino acids.

But it also goes beyond— so there’s vitamins, and minerals, and fiber, which is unusual. And you get the fiber because you’re using the entire insect. There’s no waste. But the fiber, what that does— is it feeds the good bacteria in the dog’s gut. It’s prebiotic.

So, think about a healthy gut as part of this as well. So, added benefit. And then it is hypoallergenic as well. So, dogs who have food sensitivities, this is a great alternative for them.

Chris: How many different types of insect proteins do you guys have or working on? 

Anne: Well, so far, just those two. However, we’re in the works with another one coming down the pipe, which is mealworm.

There’s a lot of momentum here with all different types of insects, and they all have fantastic protein, but they all have slightly different benefits as well.

So, I like the mealworms because they’ve got some really fantastic fat, and it could be really useful when you’re thinking about— like, creating a puppy formula.

Chris: Okay, yeah, I didn’t think of that. So, now you may be just done. Is it just dogs right now, or is it dogs and cats?

I mean, what’s kind of the product line?

Anne: Well, right now, our product line is all for dogs. So, we have several different types of treats, biscuits, and training treats that are soft and chewy.

And then the dog food, which is a baked kibble. So, slightly less processed kind of kibble. We’ve got several products that are coming down the pipe. We’re going to have a wet food going into next year and some new forms on treats that are pretty exciting.

The thing about the cat, though, is we need all of those same studies, that we’ve done for the dogs to be done for the cat. And you can’t assume it’s going to be exactly the same. Because dogs are omnivores. And, of course, cats are carnivores. So, their systems do work differently.

Chris: That’s something I guess I didn’t think about. But you’re right. Like, you’d want to do all the science, and make sure that it is the right thing for them, because obviously, we care about our pets.

So, I’m curious Anne, have you always been into pet food? I mean, what’s your background?

Anne: Not always pet food, but always in consumer products. And I was consulting for consumer products companies, the sales, and marketing teams. Actually, I went into industry, and I worked for an alcohol beverage company. 

And so I’ve been in pets since about 2010. I was actually looking at all different protein sources. I looked at plant proteins. I looked at different small fish. I was actually thinking, like, small animals, because the smaller the animal, the more sustainable it is. But the insect protein just— it beats everything out.

The protein— when you compare the protein, to say, a plant protein is just more complete. The insect protein is just all there to begin with. So, it’s a much cleaner and natural solution. I really like it. It’s basically brought our whole family together, working together, which is really interesting.

Chris: This is an amazing story. I love your passion for this. I’m really excited to see where you’re going with this. Is there anything else you want to mention before we wrap things up today?

Anne: Yeah, Petco I said, a great place to go and check it out in person. But you can also find it on Amazon, on our website, JIMINYS.COM.

J-I-M-I-N-Y-S.COM

Chris: Perfect! Well, this has been great. I really have enjoyed our conversation. And your passion really comes through. And it’s a joy to talk to you.

And as we wrap things up, I will remind our viewers and listeners, if you’ve got a great idea to change the world like Anne does, or you know somebody that does product, service, just an idea. Let’s go. Go to INNOVATIONS.SHOW and we’ll get them on the show and we’ll talk about it.

So, thank you again, Anne. And I really enjoyed our conversation.

Anne: Thank you. I really enjoyed being here.

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