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How Omni Pet is changing the dog food industry
Did you know that dogs and cats eat 20% of the world’s meat? In the US alone, about 25 to 30% of the environmental impact from the meat industry is thanks to our unaware furry friends. Us humans are aware, however, so we interviewed Dr. Guy Sandelowsky, veterinarian and co-founder of Omni Pet, to learn more about the startup that is making waves in the dog food industry by producing vegan dog food that’s healthy for dogs and the planet.
How did you come up with the idea to create vegan dog food?
At Omni, we are trying to solve 2 major problems – nutrition related diseases like obesity that are soaring in our pets, and the climate crisis, of which meat is a major contributor. So we needed a protein source that was cleaner, more sustainable, and lower in fat, but it had to be loved by dogs.
We know dogs enjoy meat, so from the onset, our challenge was to create recipes that dogs would prefer to popular meat-based alternatives. And I’m super proud to say that we did it, most dogs choose our vegan dog food!
Don’t dogs need meat? Is a completely plant-based diet healthy and nutritionally complete?
Dogs need protein, but it doesn’t have to come from meat. Plants are a great alternative source and their digestibility has been shown to be on par with that of animal-based sources, such as chicken.
Like us, dogs are nutritional omnivores, so they too can thrive on a fully plant-based diet. We’re now seeing some evidence that diets like ours have the potential to extend dogs life spans. We also know from a study that was published in a peer reviewed journal last year, that dogs eating Omni seem to experience a variety of health benefits too, like improved stool consistency and shinier coats.
Like any diet though, including those based on meat, they have to be properly formulated to ensure they provide the right balance of protein, fats, vitamins, and minerals, which can be tricky to get right. That’s why we always advise ‘pet parents’ to choose vet formulated and approved products like Omni, that are labelled as nutritionally complete and tested post production to ensure they actually are.
Are dogs as happy eating a plant-based diet as they are eating meat?
Our taste test trials with over 250 UK dog guardians found that 91% of dogs ‘Loved Omni’ and the majority chose it over the meat-based diet they were on originally.
As a vet, I also see a lot of dogs who suffer from meat-based allergies and sensitivities, which can manifest as intensely sore itchy red ears/skin and irregular stools and tummy upsets. When a diet like ours offers them relief and improvement in their clinical signs, it’s hugely rewarding to see. A typical ‘hypoallergenic’ diet can be quite bland to eat – that’s not the case with Omni Pet Food, dogs go crazy for it, so it’s a win-win, healthy but also absolutely delicious.
What are the opportunities for Omni Pet? Why do you believe this is a sustainable business idea?
We’re lucky to be living in times where pets are treated more and more like members of the family – just how it should be! As such, spending on pets has increased by 170% because millennial and Gen Z ‘pet parents’ are demanding healthier, more planet-friendly foods. These are not based on unwanted leftovers, but rather premium, science-backed ingredients, like what you’ll find in Omni.
This has created a huge opportunity for us, because there are hardly any players in this space that are addressing both health and sustainability head on like we are. If we look at the rapid growth of plant-based meat products in the human food space in the past 5 years, it’s easy to see how it’s only a matter of time before we see similar colossal growth in plant-based pet food.
The world’s pets are estimated to eat over 20% of global meat production, which is the equivalent, in terms of its CO2 footprint, to 13.6 million cars. By swapping out meat for plants, we’re becoming more resource efficient and massively reducing the meat industry’s damage to the planet.
What challenges does Omni Pet face as a business?
Our main challenge is to not spread ourselves too thin. There are so many opportunities in this new category that at times it’s tempting to try to do it all at once. To date though, we’ve maintained our focus on selling our life stage diets through our direct-to-consumer channel. We knew that that was the best way to build a strong community of customers around our brand ethos, and to demonstrate product market fit. Now, as we look to expand our product portfolio and sales channels, we will undoubtedly face new challenges that come with scaling. Thankfully, we’re surrounded by an amazing team, advisors with many years of industry experience, as well as investors who continue to support us as we face these milestones.
Why did you choose to raise on Seedrs over any other type of fundraise?
We’ve been overwhelmed and humbled by the support and love we get from our community of customers. They have stood with us from day one and continue to be the lifeblood of our business. It’s thanks to them that we’ve managed to grow our revenue by an average of 30% month-on-month since May 2021. Now, as we continue to grow, it only seems right to invite them in to become shareholders, and to partake in our success as we continue to scale Omni Pet. Seedrs provides the ideal platform to do this.
What will you do with the funds that you are looking to raise?
We know that the more we spend on marketing, the faster we grow. The majority of funds will go towards increasing public awareness about the benefits of Omni, so that our customer base gets even bigger. That said, we’ve also allocated a budget to develop a vegan wet food range that looks, tastes, and smells just like chicken, lamb, and beef, and we’re confident it’s going to be a big hit with the doggos! We’re also going to start selling Omni in Germany, a market with a huge plant-based, pet loving population. Exciting times to come!