Arch Pet Food: a new player in the game, unveiling BSF dog food and Copi-based treats

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Arch Pet Food to unveil BSF dog food and Copi-based treats

Related tags Copi black soldier fly Insect pet food

Arch Pet Food is a relatively new entrant to the pet food industry based in the US. Established around two years ago, the startup is exploring the use of alternative ingredients in cat and dog diets.

One notable aspect of their offerings is the incorporation of cricket-derived protein into their treats.

The company is set to launch a single ingredient freeze dried treat made with an invasive fish known as Copi, which Arch says offers pets a source of lean protein alongside omega fatty acids. In addition, it is gearing up to introduce its first pet food made with an insect-based formula.

Its current portfolio also includes functional treats designed to address specific health concerns such as digestive or joint health in dogs. 

We spoke to co-founders, Gabe Huertas del Pino and Adam Mutschler, to hear about progress to date at the US startup. 

Adam Mutschler HS
Adam Mutschler, Arch's chief strategy officer, has a background as an entrepreneur. 

They come from diverse professional backgrounds. Before leading Arch, Huertas del Pino served as the head of international business development and operations at PEAK, a company in the automotive aftermarket, and is a licensed attorney with experience in litigation and international dispute resolution. Mutschler, as the chief strategy officer, brings his expertise from working at Apple and advising various startups over 15 years.

The idea behind Arch stemmed from Huertas del Pino's observations of allergens in dogs, including his own pet, during the surge in pet adoptions amid the pandemic.

“The vet advised feeding the dog novel proteins such as water buffalo, kangaroo, or ostrich, but I thought there had to be a better option for a dog with sensitivities to chicken or beef, something just as nutritious, but a little bit more sustainable.”

Seeking alternatives, he approached Mutschler to explore unconventional protein sources, such as insects. Their journey began with cricket-derived protein and has expanded to include Black Soldier Fly (BSF) meal, microalgae, and Copi.

Arch has secured a supply agreement with a prominent BSF producer in the US for its new dog food brand, and will be conducting trials with academic partners to evaluate the digestibility and palatability of that insect protein source.

A few brands in the US are already leveraging insect ingredients in pet food, like YORA, Jiminy’s, Tomojo, Vobra or Hill’s Pet Nutrition.

Reducing ecosystem damage

Its Copi treats, scheduled for production and sale in January, align with Arch's commitment to sustainability.

Copi or Asian carp as it was known before a rebranding exercise, is a top feeder, and it has been wreaking havoc on ecosystems. US government officials and ecologists are waging a massive battle to keep carp out of the Great Lakes.

“There is a lot of incentive to get it out of the water. Copi causes damages in the lakes and rivers in the Midwest to the tune of billions of dollars a year. So, we're really excited about being able to bring something to market that helps reduce that impact,” explains Mutschler.

Copi feed primarily on zooplankton, making them very nutritious and low in contaminants. “The fish is a safe for human consumption and for use in pet food."

“We are producing and selling a single ingredient dehydrated Copi treat that is functional and appropriate for cats or dogs.”

Arch Pet Cat Treat

The startup is also developing a plant-based calming treat containing spirulina and CBD, pending final regulatory checks before launch.

Arch’s market access relies on a distribution network with partners in the Pacific Northwest and the Midwest, supplemented by third-party manufacturing services.

LCA data

The company is collaborating with life-cycle analysis experts to validate its sustainability claims, specifically focusing on the environmental impact of transitioning from a beef diet to its plant-based and insect blend diet and is collaborating with co-manufacturers to gather data and provide a more complete picture of the environmental impact of its products' production and shipping processes.

Acknowledging the premium nature of their products, Huertas del Pina remains cautiously optimistic about the ongoing trend of premiumization or humanization in pet food retailing.

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