LONDON — Earlier this month, Mars Petcare announced the upcoming launch of its first 100% insect-based cat food formulas exclusively in the United Kingdom. The brand, Lovebug, does not contain any traditional protein sources such as beef or poultry ingredients.

This breakthrough cat nutrition solution is on trend with the rise of insect protein processors and pet food and treat companies adopting the protein alternative to feed the world’s growing pet population in a more sustainable way.

The launch of Lovebug shortly follows the debut of Catit’s insect-based cat food and treat products, first introduced at Global Pet Expo Digital Access in March. The trend originated in dog food and treats, has established a presence as a livestock and aquaculture feed ingredient, and is now making its way into the cat nutrition market.

"I’ve heard some people suggest that eating insects is gross,” said Deri Watkins, president of Mars Pet Nutrition in Europe. “We think cats will disagree. We’re making cats happy, we want to keep cat lovers happy too. With Lovebug, they won’t have to worry about their environmental footprint. That’s just the start, we have innovations on the way so pet parents will have more sustainable choices.”

Lovebug is a dry kibble cat food supported by Futerra, a sustainability consulting agency, and Mars Petcare’s Waltham Petcare Science Institute. Aside from its insect protein attributes, the kibble pieces are also covered in a vegan coating to enhance palatability. The product is also offered in a fully recyclable, plastic-free packaging solution.

The insects incorporated in Lovebug formulas take up 80% less land per kilo of protein compared to beef proteins, and are fed entirely surplus vegetables and plant foods from food waste streams, according to Mars Petcare. The company is sourcing the protein from an insect farm powered by 100% renewable electricity.

The processes for producing the insects, incorporating them into cat food in place of traditional proteins, and Lovebug’s recyclable packaging solution mean these diets are sustainable all along the supply chain.

“I love my cat and I love the planet, but I couldn’t find an environmentally conscious, super healthy and plastic free cat food in the UK,” said Solitaire Townsend, co-founder of Futerra. “There are so many sustainable and healthy choices for people, why not cats? I’m delighted to have worked with Mars Petcare to launch Lovebug; a delicious insect-protein cat food in recyclable packaging. If you’re a cat person and a planet person, then Lovebug is for you.”

Lovebug will be launched online in Spring 2021 in the United Kindgom at

Read more about new pet food and treat products.