Press release -
Orkla invests in sustainable pet food
Orkla makes minority investment in biotechnology company Because, Animals. This venture company is the only one in the world that has developed pet food of animal origin that is not based on the slaughter of animals. The target group for the company’s products are dogs and cats.
Because, Animals was co-founded by Shannon Falconer, PhD, and Joshua Errett, MBA, who both volunteered at the same cat rescue charity in Toronto. In 2019, Because, Animals succeeded in producing a cat treat made from cultured mouse tissue. Since then, the company has continued to progress on the scientific front by reducing the cost of their cultured meat, getting closer to commercialization.
“We are on a mission to make the most sustainable and nutritious pet food – without harming animals in the process. Cultured pet food enables us to safely and responsibly produce food of animal origin, which cats and dogs crave, without harming other animals,” says CEO and PhD, Shannon Falconer, co-founder of Because, Animals.
“We are delighted to have Orkla as one of our stakeholders. The company has a firm belief in sustainability and in developing alternative protein sources, which aligns with Because, Animals’ mission of taking animals out of the supply chain by creating cultured meat alternatives for pets” explains Dr. Falconer.
At present, there are very few options for customers wanting to feed their pets an alternative to animal-based meat, but as the market has shown demand, Orkla is confident that there will be strong growth in this area.
“More and more consumers want to have healthier, more sustainable alternatives to traditional meat products. We believe that this demand will gradually also apply to the food they feed their pets. Technological advances will make it possible to develop new pet foods that are just as good in terms of taste, texture and nutritional content. The potential is considerable, but the development of cultured pet food is still at an early start-up phase,” says Elin Tveito Lidman, who was recently appointed as CEO of Orkla Alternative Proteins (OAP).
“We are at the very start of a massive shift to alternative protein sources, a trend that also applies to pet food. Cultured pet food that does not involve the slaughter of animals is an entirely new concept. Their products and technology are emerging as a sustainable, healthy way of feeding pets. It is impressive to see how effectively Because, Animals has managed to produce cultured pet food,” she adds.
“This investment is in line with Orkla’s strategy to partner with innovative technology companies around the world which can bring interesting capabilities to the Orkla family of brands and companies. We believe Orkla’s expertise in manufacturing, food safety, as well as brand building will help accelerate the development of an already promising young company with an impressive track record and management team,” said Sverre Prytz, EVP M&A and Strategy at Orkla.
The United Nations estimates that around 15 per cent of global CO2 emissions can be linked to animals farmed for food production, and at current consumption growth rates, meat production will have to double by 2050. It will be impossible to meet this gap without finding significantly more sustainable methods of producing proteins. The percentage of global CO2 emissions that can be attributed to meat-based pet food is not known.
Because, Animals started its operations in 2016, as the first and only biotech company to supply cultured pet food from non-slaughtered animals to the steadily growing pet food market. The co-founders ofBecause, Animals both worked at the same cat rescue charity and bonded over the dilemma of having to feed their pets food that came from factory farms. Shannon Falconer, who has a PhD in biochemistry was doing post-doctoral work at Stanford University, and Joshua Errett, who was in fintech after earning an MBA from Indiana University, both left their careers to start Because, Animals in 2016. The company’s goal is to commercialise its first cultured meat pet product in 2022. Because, Animals is headquartered in Chicago and has nine employees.
Orkla is a leading supplier of branded consumer goods and concept solutions to the consumer, out-of-home and bakery markets in the Nordics, Baltics and selected markets in Central Europe and India. Orkla is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange and its headquarters is in Oslo. In 2018, the Group had a turnover of NOK 41 billion, and approximately 18,500 employees as of 31 December 2018.