ST. LOUIS — Purina announced startups Bright Planet Pet and uPetsia as winners of the 2022 Pet Care Innovation Prize. Other winners include FluentPet, Paway and QSM Diagnostics. Purina’s prize recognizes some of the innovative products and startups in the pet care industry.

Minnesota-based Bright Planet Pet makes plant-based dog treats that taste and smell like meat and are formulated with sustainable and natural ingredients. According to the company, its treats create up to 90% less carbon emissions and use 68% less water compared to meat-based treats. Bright Planet also makes a donation to plant one tree for every bag of treats sold.

Arizona-based uPetsia is addressing bad breath in dogs by modifying natural dog oral bacteria to create a minty aroma. This bacteria can be used in dog treat and food formulations, giving them naturally minty breath for hours.

According to Purina, more than 120 companies across 75 cities worldwide applied for the 2022 Pet Care Innovation Prize. Bright Planet and uPetsia, along with the three other winners, will receive $10,000, mentorship from Purina’s innovation team and will be able to participate in an accelerator boot camp with pet industry experts.

The five winners will then have the opportunity to present their businesses to industry influencers and investors, who will choose an ultimate winner. The winner will be chosen at the 2022 Global Pet Expo and will receive an additional $10,000 in cash.

Purina’s Pet Care Innovation Prize is a collaboration between the company’s 9 Square Ventures group and leaders of Active Capital. The companies seek innovative startups striving to address pet and pet owners’ needs in pet health and wellness, nutrition, technology, services and litter.

"This year's class of winners showcases the breadth of opportunities that exist in the pet care industry,” said Blair Morgan, co-lead of 9 Square Ventures and vice president of strategy and innovation at Purina. “From pet tech to diagnostics, each business is unique, but all are driven by a shared love of pets and desire to make a positive impact on their lives, which is a cornerstone of Purina's mission too."

Since its founding in 2014, Purina’s 9 Square Ventures group has invested millions of dollars in a diverse range of pet care startups.

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