Companies like Wild Balance and Guau&Cat are growing more than 15% per month in Spain
Eating healthy has come to be seen as a priority for many during the long months of the pandemic. But not just for humans. Concern about leaving the so-called overprocessed food behind has also gradually been transferred to pets that are placed in more and more homes each time, as a result of hours of confinement due to quarantine. In 2021, there were, in fact, more homes with dogs registered than families with children under 14. A number of factors that have caused a transformation in food trends.
“The day I thought of turning over my pet’s food bag, I turned to them and apologized,” she says. Maria Isa Zurbano, PhD in Biology from the University of Barcelona. His cats were 10 and 11 years old and he thought he gave them the best in the world.
“A natural diet can mean up to a 30% improvement in life expectancy compared to ultra-processed food,” he states. kike domingo, CEO of Wild Balance. It is a company that manufactures and distributes Biologically Appropriate Raw Food (BARF). This diet refers to a natural and raw diet with minimal food processing so as not to lose its natural properties. They are most often distributed frozen, although they may also be available at room temperature or canned, depending on the brand.
One of the biggest barriers to the growth of this type of food is the owners’ belief that it is not a comfortable format for their daily lives. With this premise, Wild Balance started production in 2020 with a focus on offering simplicity for them. Its production is already growing at a rate of over 15% per month and it has a recently expanded 1,800 square meter factory in Valencia.
How do they take it? They make small 50-gram hamburgers in one-kilogram bags, but also distribute them in steamed cans that do not need to be frozen, among other products. With a total of 25 employees, the company bills 2 million euros and plans to increase it to over 20 million euros by 2025 with the help of the international market.
Pets are considered members of the family and therefore the ingredient list that appears on food labels is reviewed. That’s a big deal, considering one in three dogs and two cats is obese. Experts explain that animals eat out of boredom, for example, when a container is full of food, while they eat natural food immediately and “like it more”.
On the other hand, highly processed foods can contribute to certain diseases such as cancer, diabetes or arthritis, just as they have shown can occur in humans.
“With all the heat treatments of the bait, the proteins are denatured and vitamins and additives need to be included, causing the feeling of eating to be somewhat lost,” he says. Elena Ces de Pazveterinarian and owner of Kiwi Pets Veterinary Clinic.
Maria Isa Zurbano He explains that when he randomly looked at one of the boxes of ultra-processed food, he uncovered unidentified ingredients as “dried poultry protein,” which he believes could be anything. “Proteins are the structural molecules of any living thing on planet Earth, be it feathers or beaks.” And considering it’s cat food, he doesn’t realize that the second main ingredient is corn. “They’re carnivores, and their digestive systems aren’t ready to digest depending on what carbohydrates they’re ingesting,” he says. Also, a 2014 study reveals that 50% of cats over the age of 10 suffer from kidney disease. “You’re damaging the kidneys if you remove the water from the food,” he adds.
So what does a dog say when he crosses the street? royal dinner? The result is more stylized animals that lose much less hair and even get rid of some allergies. “They are given natural preservatives, and cardiovascular health is enhanced with vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids,” adds the biologist. One of the first things they celebrate when they arrive at their office is “Puppy!”
Despite this evidence, it is possible that there are those who reject change for economic reasons. Breaking the cost barrier is one of the motivations that guides Guau&Cat. Jaume GomisThe CEO of the company explains: “The idea is to deliver two to five euros of food to all dogs in Spain.”
The company produces 24 different dishes and has also achieved significant growth. It is growing by 15% each month and currently bills two million euros, but estimates it could reach ten million in about two years. They have 40 workers and a 700 square meter factory in Granollers (Barcelona), which they plan to expand in 2023.
Everything indicates that the demand for natural and organic ingredients in pet foods will increase rapidly in the coming years. The biology doctor exclaims, “Once you realize it, there’s no going back.” Maria Isa Zurbano.
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