Cultured Koji Dog Food Has More Protein Than Steak

An independent study found that new clean-meat startup Wild Earth’s fungus-based companion animal foods contain 45 percent protein by weight—compared to only 24 percent found in steak.


This week, an independent agency released a review of new clean-meat startup Wild Earth’s products aimed to feed companion animals such as cats and dogs. The agency reviewed a dog-treat prototype that the brand created with cultured-koji (a type of fungus that is grown in a lab-setting using a proprietary process) and found that it rated high in terms of digestibility, an important factor for absorption of nutrients in dogs. The koji-based treat contains 10 essential amino acids and is comprised of 45 percent protein by weight, which exceeds the 24 percent found in steak. “This is an important milestone that validates we’re creating a safe, healthy, nutritious product to transform the pet food industry,” Wild Earth CEO Ryan Bethencourt said. “America is in a clean-meat revolution, and an economical and scalable cultured protein for pets is an essential part of this shift away from animal agriculture.” In a recent interview with VegNews, Bethencourt revealed that Wild Earth is also developing clean mouse-meat (created in a lab-setting using a small amount of mouse cells) intended for cats. “I view problems in the world as something we can solve with technology,” Bethencourt said about the clean meat’s potential to resolve the fact that 25-30 percent of the environmental impact of animal agriculture is attributed to the companion-animal-food industry. Wild Earth’s koji dog treats will be available later this summer, and its dry dog food will debut in 2019. Philadelphia-based clean-meat startup Because Animals is working to create similar products for companion animals: an algae-based food supplement and clean-meat based cat and dog food.