Sustainable Pet Foods That’s Good for Your Pet and the Planet | Petaluma

Animal Innovations Show - Episode 34 - Petaluma

Sustainable Pet Foods That’s Good for Your Pet and the Planet | Petaluma

Are you looking for environmentally friendly pet food choices that are great for your four-legged best friends?

You may be able to shop for excellent finds at Petaluma!

Humans have come a long way toward recognizing the importance of sustainable pet foods. Yet, many pet owners still feed their Fidos the same dog food.

Because of this, Garrett Wymore, established Petaluma in 2019 as a sustainable pet nutrition firm that challenges the norm.

Garrett shared,

“We’ve gone through basically two years of R&D, developing a line of plant-based dog nutrition. Our goal is really to create a more sustainable and compassionate alternative to traditional dog food.”

A Bit of Background About Petaluma

Sustainable Pet Foods That’s Good for Your Pet and the Planet | Petaluma

As a public benefit corporation, Petaluma formulates food designed for your animals and the planet.

To this end, the Oakland, California-based organization uses a science-backed approach to complete nutrition that’s guided by evidence, not fads.

“The way that we’re innovating in this space is using a variety of plant and meat alternative proteins to create a nutritionally complete profile that meets all dogs’ nutrient requirements. But, it doesn’t involve the use of animal agriculture. That has had a massive impact on the environmental burden of animal agriculture and the way other animals are treated in the supply chain.

When asked what inspired the formation of Petaluma, Garrett said that it all started when he was still working on dog-related health projects.

He was surprised to hear about how the management was actually effectively selling plant-based diets to veterinarians and prescribing them to dogs.

He continued,

“I had no idea that that was something that was feasible… Understanding that the nutritional requirements of dogs were much more similar to an omnivorous human than a wolf was really interesting to me. And I realized that there needed to be a paradigm shift about the way that we feed our dogs.”

Consequently, Petaluma makes sure to buy its supplies only from certified organic farms and to avoid monoculture crops like corn or soy.

Petaluma to Help Your Dogs Meet Their Nutritional Requirements

Sustainable Pet Foods That’s Good for Your Pet and the Planet | Petaluma

Garrett’s background wasn’t in pet nutrition. However, he had the opportunity to work with colleagues who developed a pet activity tracker.

According to Garrett, the project allowed him to use real-world data. This furthered his understanding of how humans can better improve the quality of their pet care.

Apart from that, he was a parent to 35-pound dogs that consume approximately 900 calories in a day. This taught him about choosing ingredients that would make a ton of real, meaningful impact on the way we can use our land and the plants we can grow.

This was also the point when he believed that the narrative around pet food needed to change.

Garrett wanted to be one of the first innovators who could take advantage of the opportunity to make a difference.

“There’s just a major evolutionary difference in how dogs have come to be… I think that there are nutritional trade-offs that come with using just whatever’s left over. And so, we wanted to really make a higher-quality product that fits the way that we care about our own dogs… I think that was important for us,”

he said.

What makes Petaluma even more impressive is that, at the time of this writing, the company also offers a 30% discount on your first bag when you decide to buy from its official website.

So, if you want to have a positive impact on the planet while you care for your fur baby, simply use the promo code “ANIMAL”. You can already take advantage of their offer.

Note, however, that the promo is only good until November 2021.

 

 

Learn more about Petaluma!

Visit their website at https://www.feedpetaluma.com/.

Have suggestions for who we should interview next?

Send us a message at [email protected]!

Garrett:

I’m Garrett Wymore, and you’re tuned in to The Animal Innovations Show.

Chris:

Excellent introduction.

So, Garrett, tell us a little bit more about who you are and how you’re innovating and helping animals.

Garrett:

My name is Garrett Wymore.

I’m the co-founder of Petaluma, and we’re a sustainable pet nutrition company.

I founded Petaluma in 2019, and we’ve gone through basically two years of R&D, developing a line of plant-based dog nutrition.

Our goal is really to create a more sustainable and compassionate alternative to traditional dog food that primarily relies on factory-farmed animal proteins.

And the way that we’re innovating in this space is using a variety of plant and meat alternative proteins to create a really nutritionally complete profile that meets all dogs’ nutrient requirements but doesn’t involve the use of animal agriculture.

And that has a massive impact on both the environmental burden of animal agriculture and also the way that other animals are treated in the supply chain.

Chris:

Yeah, I love that. And it really does have that compounding positive effect.

And I think we were talking a little bit before we started here that we’ve moved so far in humans recognizing plant-based diet is not only healthy; it’s better for the planet.

And, I mean, there are so many other benefits, but yet, we just keep on feeding our pets the same thing.

So, I’m really excited to hear that you guys are challenging that and saying,

“Why do we need to do that? We can feed our pets healthy plant-based diets that have all these compounding positive effects.”

Garrett:

You know, I would like to say: what you eat became the new what you drive in terms of your taking personal impact—your viewing your personal impact on the environment, the awareness around agriculture as an obviously critical sector.

You know, everyone needs to eat. It’s one of the most important parts of both our personal health and the economy. But it also has a ton of side effects.

And thinking—being more intentional about where food comes from and how it’s grown is going to be critical for the way that we go forward.

I was also working at a major pet nutrition company, and I was really surprised to hear that they actually had plant-based or vegetarian diets that were being sold to veterinarians and prescribed to dogs.

I had no idea that that was something that was feasible after getting advertising for years about who could put the most meat in the food.

Understanding more that the nutritional requirements of dogs were much more similar to an omnivorous human than a wolf—it was really interesting to me, and I realize that there needed to be a paradigm shift about the way that we feed our dogs as well.

Chris:

You kind of came to that realization just from doing that work then. Is that kind of where this started?

Garrett:

At the time, we were working on a major dog health project, where we were distributing these devices that could kind of track dogs’ behaviors, and we’re correlating that with medical records.

And part of that was looking into what diets dogs were eating and realizing just the breath of difference in diets and realizing that dogs were doing honestly pretty well in all of them.

There was some going all the way to the raw meat side, others that—we’re seeing that there were plant-based dogs out there that were doing really well with the nutritionally complete diet—provided a lot of context and a lot of confidence for us to go forward and develop a product that we think really checked all the boxes on the nutrition side but also had some really positive side effects on our agricultural system.

Chris:

Yeah. And that’s what I think is really cool.

I mean, I think we don’t often think about it. We just—we buy pet food, right? And we feed it to the animals because—now, you said you launched this in 2019, or you at least started the company right kind of before the pandemic happened.

So, how has that really affected what’s been going on with you guys?

Garrett:

We really started 2019. It was kind of our R&D phase, where it was really important for us to bring on a veteran nutritionist and really ticket-kind of science-based approach to the diet, knowing that there were going to be more questions.

This is a novel idea of, you know, “Are you feeding dogs?” with, you know, “How do you get nutrients with animals and making sure that we had all the right expertise in place there?”

So, I think it was an interesting 2020 to be in the early stages of forming a company because I think everyone in the pandemic started to feel particularly isolated.

There was definitely a big transition for me going from working at a large company, being in the office every day. I was already working in my basement.

I was already spending all of my days largely alone, working in my basement.

So, it’s almost like in the pandemic, everyone just met me where I already was, which was kind of feeling slightly isolated, kind of grinding out an idea.

It was definitely a good time to be starting a company, I think, because everyone else was having to adapt to a new way of working and a new kind of world around them.

And, when you’re in the early stages of figuring out what you want the company to be, how you want to set it up, having some kind of larger disruption happening around you—it’s easier on the smaller, you know, nimble companies than it is on some of the bigger players.

In the pet food—specifically space—it moved a ton of purchasing online.

Chris:

Take us back to the point where you decided that, “You know what? I could do this better. I want to start my own company. I have my own purpose here.”

Garrett:

It was clear that some of these smaller startups were really changing the entire narrative around kind of what’s new and what should be done in the space.

I think a lot of the larger companies basically won’t move until they see other companies having success there, that—there was obviously a ton of opportunity to—you know, if we were to change the formulation of an already distributed food, we can make a ton of impact there.

There’s a lot of great people working on that problem. But I think the overall narrative and the story around pet food needed to change.

And to do that, you needed a company that was telling a very specific story about that and then living that entirely with their brand.

Chris:

I love that. And I love the fact that you recognize the opportunity and said, “You know what? I’m going to make a difference here.”

So, tell me a little bit more about Petaluma. I mean, what is—you know, obviously, it’s nutritionally balanced for the dog.

What’s the source of protein? What’s the source of all the other things that allow you to avoid having to take other animals right from that supply chain?

Garrett:

Yeah. I think it starts off if you just look kind of at a dog’s biology and kind of what their nutritional requirements are.

The interesting part is that, unlike cats, where cats had not had major changes in their diet compared to some of their wild ancestors—I think you look at the history of dogs, and the date of domestication is a little bit gray, but let’s just say for the last 20,000 years, it was a lot more efficient for them to eat human food scraps and kind of—start off following us around, eating our trash, maybe having us feed them a little bit and slowly working out to now, where we’re custom-ordering their food online, specifically purpose-built for them.

But there’s just a major evolutionary difference in how dogs have come to be. And you see that in what their dietary profiles look like, where a lot of the ingredients that are true can only come from animals.

Dogs synthesize themselves, just like humans. Like, I’m on a totally plant-based diet, and I take one or two supplements, but almost my entire nutritional needs can come exclusively without the need for animals.

From a protein standpoint, I think that one is relatively straightforward, where, if you look at dogs’ nutritional requirement of maybe 20 to 35% protein, that’s completely doable with a variety of plant-based sources.

I think we kind of looked at some of the human meat alternative companies as inspiration around using things like chickpeas, potato proteins, peas, different types of grains, and putting that together into a really complete amino acid profile, so something that looks, on paper, when we send our food into the lab, nutritionally identical to something that would have meat in it, you would not be able to tell that ours was a meatless formulation.

And then, on the other nutrient side, many of these things are already present in plants. Things like B12 can come from bacterial fermentation. That’s mostly how humans are getting it anyway, in terms of supplemental feeds.

So, I think there were no major problems. And the veterinary nutritionist we brought in really didn’t have it that difficult of a time using non-animal ingredients to formulate our food.

Chris:

It’s really fascinating to think that, like you said, once you distill it down, you send it out to a lab, they can’t tell the difference, right?

I mean, once you get it down to that molecular level, that tells you we should have been doing this a long time ago.

So, it’s about time, and maybe you can force some of the bigger guys to swing in your direction.

And you know, one of the things that really matters to me—you and I really love—maybe you can tell people, kind of like your approach towards the company. In Petaluma, and what you’re trying to do. Because I think it’s really inspiring.

Garrett:

Yeah, totally. I think it probably starts with the name of the company. Petaluma is a small town, north of the bay area. While we were in the middle of our own dietary journey, we went out there—a farm stay, on a hobby farm and our dog playing with a bunch of farm animals there. And these are not food animals; they’re largely, you know, goats, and some pigs, and chickens. The owner really like to have them around.

Just seeing our dog interacting with other animals really blurred the line for us between: Okay, this is like our family member that we’re like bringing to our vacations—like, where is the line? Like, it’s clearly not as a—like, it has a, you know, a really strong differential between the two.

And it’s really us imposing on what do we value and what don’t we value. You know, that experience is one of the many things changing our own opinion around—how we are treating other animals.

I think the other side of Petaluma is the sustainability piece around agriculture. I think—you know while the ingredients selection is really impactful, we also want to think about the way that humans are treated in the supply chain. I think farm workers, those groups that we spend almost no time thinking about. As a society, it’s just food just shows up and when it doesn’t everyone was like, “What’s happening?” you know the early days of the pandemic, when people couldn’t get meat and there’s like a—”Oh my god, how did this food possibly make its way to my dinner table.” And you know, we’re trying to be as intentional as possible about choosing products that treat farm workers better. You know, part of that is using organic ingredients. I think a lot of people think about pesticides, for both themselves and in this case they’re dogs and is the consumer. But all the touch points along the supply chain there—you know there are people who are in the fields everyday applying it, having to pick the products that have all over it. That’s where you really see—data around being it health challenge.

Chris:

So, Garrett, what’s next? Where are you guys gonna take this?

Garrett:

I think there’s a huge opportunity to— within specifically the pet food market that’s where most of the calories go, that’s where most of the actual agriculture output goes.

And we would love to grow our share there. And make this a mainstream alternative, and a great way to be feeding your dog.

We are developing additional lines of the food. Right now, our food is tailored towards adults and seniors. But we are coming up with a “senior-only” specific formula, that has a couple of nutritional changes to really meet the needs of the senior dogs.

We are working on some additional treats as well, cause those are always fun and allow you to try out other ingredients, like sea kelp.

Sea kelp is really cool, I think it has a ton of interesting sustainability applications and also doesn’t require any land and it’s building habitats out at sea.

So, I think we just want to be at the forefront of using new and interesting ingredients that help those industries. They’re looking for use cases to help build out the kelp industry, and we would love to find a way to incorporate them into our products.

Chris:

I think that’s really cool. So, Garett, where can people buy the products?

Where can they learn more about you guys, get in touch with you?

Garrett:

Yeah, absolutely.

If you go to FEEDPETALUMA.COM—we’re right now selling only through our website—I’d love to offer listeners of the show a discount.

So, if you use the discount code: ANIMAL, we’ll give you our best deal of 30% off a trial of our food.

So, we’d love to have everyone give it a try, give us your feedback. We hope your dogs love it as much as ours do.

Chris:

Very cool. I definitely appreciate that.

So, we’ll tell people, go to FEEDPETALUMA.COM, and use the promo code: ANIMAL, and you’ll get 30% off, which is great!

And we’ll just remind our viewers and listeners that if you’ve got an innovative idea, product, service, something that’s going to make an impact, let us know.

Just go to INNOVATIONS.SHOW, and tell us about it, and we’ll have them on the show.

So, thanks again, Garrett, for coming on. I appreciate it.

Garrett:

Thanks so much.

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