Not for profit animal shelter organization, SPCA Selangor, will support the development of the pet food product ahead of its commercial launch.
We ran a Q&A with Nick Piggott, co-CEO of Singapore headquartered insect ingredient producer, Nutrition Technologies, with operating facilities in Malaysia and Vietnam, to find out more.
FeedNavigator: Can you expand on the role of each of the partners in the project?
Nick Piggott: Nutrition Technologies will provide the insect meal to Pet World at a heavily discounted pricing, alongside scientific studies on the benefits of using insect meal in dog food. We will also support the company in terms of application guidelines and suggested formulation, based on industry best practice, performance, and value for money. Pet World will then use the insect meal alongside other common dog food ingredients and manufacture the kibble in its new factory in Selangor, along with packaging and distributing it to the SPCA shelters. The SPCA will be responsible for distributing the food within its network and feeding it to the dogs as per the guidelines to ensure maximum benefit from the functional feed. The SPCA will feedback to Pet World and Nutrition Technologies about the performance, attractiveness of the feed, and any changes we would expect to see with regards animal health improvements.
FEN: When will the pet food product incorporating BSFL be commercially available?
NP: The target is within six months. This is basically determined by the product registration process. All parties would be keen to offer it sooner, however this is the timeline we expect from the authorities for getting a new product registered and approved.
FEN: Is this the first time Nutrition Technologies is targeting the pet food market?
NP: It is and we're excited to be doing it on home turf, so to speak. We are engaged with a number of pet food manufacturers around the world, primarily Korea and Europe, who are very excited to use our insect meal, but in terms of timeline to launch, this will be the first. But we do anticipate others to follow later in 2022 and early 2023.
FEN: Has Nutrition Technologies carried out studies on the use of BSFL in dog food?
NP: Yes we have - we conducted a study in the US on the palatability of dog feed with insect-based ingredients, and we are also well connected with international researchers who do a lot of detailed work on the topic - both on the sustainability calculation, as well as the health and functional performance assessments, like digestibility, palatability, gut health improvements, etc.
FEN: What are the regulations in Malaysia in relation to the use of this ingredient in pet food?
NP: It is unrestricted. The Malaysian authorities have taken a very pragmatic approach to regulating feed materials, whereby they assess a product's safety and suitability to the application - in this case dog food - and unless there are any indications that it should not be used, permission is granted. In other countries and regions where BSE was an issue in the 1990s, they have a longer approval process for new ingredients, but fortunately Malaysia is very practical in terms of safety assessments.
FEN: What is the potential of the Asian pet food market for insect ingredient providers?
NP: It has good potential, and it is growing year-on-year. the pet food sector boomed during COVID-19 pandemic - growing about 9% globally during 2021, where most other feed sectors suffered. This is because people were spending more time at home and had more disposable income from lack of travel opportunities. There is also rapid growth in the premium and super-premium categories, as people invest more in the health and wellbeing of their pets - to which insect meal is a key contributor.
Asian countries like South Korea are definitely leading the way, with a number of their own insect-based brands, but I think a number of others will follow closely behind, including Malaysia and Japan.