As you’ll know (it’s in the name, of course) Lovebug cat food has one extra special ingredient: bugs. But there’s a lot more to the recipe than meets the eye.
Dane Percy is one of the team behind Lovebug cat food’s innovative recipe, as well as many other pet foods that your pet may already know and love. As far as cats are concerned, he’s a much loved superstar chef. Here’s the lowdown from Dane on how the recipe came about, and some clues about why cats find it so tasty.
What makes Lovebug cat food different from other cat foods?
We don’t use any other animal ingredients in Lovebug, only black soldier fly larvae – which is obviously great for pet parents who don’t want to buy pet food that contains traditional animal protein sources.
What mattered most to you and your team when you set out to create Lovebug cat food?
Being complete and balanced was so critical. Especially given that it was such a new thing that we were doing, we were all super aware that we needed to make sure this would be really good for cats. That was by far the biggest factor for us from a technical perspective. We worked really closely with our global team of experts at Mars to ensure that we weren’t taking any chances. It meant that we went slower, because we wanted to make sure we were getting it right.
Achieving this involved some creative thinking. To make sure Lovebug cat food has all the essential nutrients for cats, we needed to substitute in certain nutrients like arachidonic acid. This usually comes from traditional animal fats, so we had to find another source.
How do you know it really is good for cats?
We follow the FEDIAF (European Pet Food Industry Federation) nutritional guidelines to ensure that everything that we’re doing is meeting the nutrition requirements for cats. We’ve got special formulation systems and raw material control to ensure that every batch that we’re making is going to meet those nutrient guidelines. We've developed it just like other cat foods – it’s just that we’re using some unique raw materials that we haven’t used before.
- It was really important to ensure that the new ingredients we were using were safe for cats, and that we didn’t put them at risk. We’ve done a huge amount of testing to make sure that cats’ health was supported by this recipe.
What other kinds of checks and testing has the recipe been through?
As a business we follow really strict quality principles, and go above and beyond compared to other manufacturers of pet foods. Based on years of our own research, we’ve got specific limits and parameters for freshness and nutrition – and we tend to request controls that others may not be requesting.
We also do a lot of testing. Over the years I’ve learned that the quality and freshness of the raw ingredients is absolutely essential for creating a good finished product. You really have to start from the start. So we have a massive quality programme in place to ensure that suppliers are delivering ingredients to our specification.
Being a cat food chef is a really cool job! What has been most exciting for you about creating Lovebug cat food?
We can all see that, from an environmental perspective, things are going to have to change. We need to look at what the future should be – and that’s what’s most exciting about this. It’s about getting something right and being part of the future of pet food.