Globally, a research team counted 43 brands selling pet products using insect-based ingredients, with 35 of those brands operating in Europe. Black soldier fly larvae and mealworms were the two most frequently used insect species.
Various health, wellness and sustainability claims can be made about insect-based pet foods. Certain of those claims may be more effective than others. Researchers in Germany analyzed the terms used by pet owners in their reviews of insect-based pet foods sold in the European market. Out of five marketing claims commonly used by insect-based pet food brands, three received the most mentions by pet owners in reviews of the products. The scientists also reviewed previous research on insect-based pet foods and their marketing.
“A large majority of claims indicated that dogs and/or cats liked the product,” the researchers wrote in their paper published in the Journal of Asia-Pacific Entomology.
The most frequently mentioned attribute in reviews was the sustainability of insect-based pet foods. Thirty reviews mentioned sustainability. Following sustainability in prevalence were nine reviews that included reference to insect-based pet foods as hypoallergenic. The third most frequent category of marketing claims related to gut health and digestibility with seven mentions in review. Besides the three top claims, immune health or antioxidant activity were mentioned in reviews three times. Brain health for aging dogs was included in one review.
“Insect-based pet food producers are using several health and sustainability claims for marketing purposes,” they wrote. “Some of these claims are based on hard scientific evidence, for others more evidence is needed. It appears that pet owners have connected very well with the sustainability, hypoallergic and gut health claims. It is proposed that the acceptance of such claims will be the main driver of insect-based pet food in coming years.”
Global insect-based pet food market
The scientists concluded by suggesting that insect-based pet food makers should adopt systematic marketing. The study authors called for more scientific evidence related to the diets as well. The researchers noted that communicating with veterinarians may help improve consumer perceptions of insects as pet food ingredients.
Globally, the research team counted 43 brands selling pet products using insect-based ingredients, with 35 of those brands operating in Europe. Black soldier fly larvae and mealworms were the two most frequently used insect species.