Ryan Bethencourt, CEO of companion-animal food startup Wild Earth, recently challenged executives of brands Purina, Pedigree, and Blue Buffalo to eat the dog food they sell. “I’ll eat our dog food; I’ve eaten lots of it,” Wild Earth CEO Ryan Bethencourt said on a recent episode of the “#EatForThePlanet” podcast. “I would love to challenge the CEOs of the world’s biggest pet-food brands, like the CEO of Pedigree and Purina and Blue Buffalo, to eat their own dog food.” Bethencourt’s dare comes at a time when consumers have started questioning the quality of their companion animals’ meals, including ingredients such as fillers and meat byproducts. Wild Earth is developing clean, high-protein companion-animal foods using biotechnology with an aim to eliminate the necessity to slaughter animals for food, and recently launched the world’s first dog treat made from cultured koji (a type of fungus that is grown in a lab setting). The company is also developing a clean-meat product for cats by growing mouse meat in a laboratory setting using a small amount of mouse cells. “We’re making a statement with the food we’re making, which is that we want to be transparent and honest with everything that we do,” Bethencourt said. Earlier this year, Wild Earth received $450,000 in funding from PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel to aid the company in product development and distribution.

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