DONGEN, THE NETHERLANDS — Protix recently released a new palatability study, revealing the high palatability of its new fresh insect meat PureeX® in pet food formulas. According to Protix, the positive results of the study will help form the basis for more extensive insect-based meat trials, furthering the development of more insect-based pet food formulas.

Protix’s PureeX is rapidly processed with a minimum number of steps, according to the company, and can be used in both wet and dry formulas. The fresh meat is made from black soldier fly and consists of Protix’s existing insect meal ProteinX® and insect oil LipidX®. PureeX is low in biogenic amines, a commonly used measure of freshness, and boasts a low carbon footprint, producing about 0.439 kg of CO2 compared to 10.33 kg of CO2 created by the production of poultry meal.

As well as environmental benefits, PureeX also offers health benefits to pets. The fresh ingredient can help boost a formula’s antioxidant capacity, supporting overall pet health and wellness. According to a study, PureeX was shown to suppress the negative effects of pro-oxidant molecules by 90%, whereas chicken meal and fishmeal were only able to do so by 5% to 15%.

Protix's PureeX insect meat offers sustainability and nutritional benefitsSource: Protix

Protix found further antioxidant benefits of PureeX in a joint study with Yora. According to the study, insect-based cat food formulated with PureeX suppressed negative effects of pro-oxidant molecules, specifically Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) molecules, by about 80%, whereas non-insect-based cat food was only able to suppress the molecules by about 70%.

“Protix understands the importance of scientifically backed claims to convince consumers that insects are packed with goodness, and a source of the essential antioxidants and other nutritional components that prolong longevity and quality of life,” said Glenn Ranking, managing director of Yora.

“As a partner, Protix continually supports us with great innovations,” he added. “Our shared vision and passion to create a better world inspire excitement among pet parents for healthier and more sustainable pet food. The launch of fresh PureeX is again a big step forward to lower ‘pawprint’ for the industry.”

In addition to its environmental and nutritional benefits, Protix shared that PureeX also offers palatability benefits to pet food processors. The company recently concluded a new study on the insect-based fresh meat, sharing the high acceptability of the ingredient by dogs and cats when included in a wet formula.

The palatability test was conducted with 17 dogs and 16 cats in their private homes. In addition to their existing diets, the pets were given a wet diet with a sole protein source of insects. The diet was formulated with about 60% of PureeX and was given for two consecutive days. Pet parents documented and video recorded their pets’ reactions and behaviors to the wet food.

According to the test, 94% of dogs and 81% of cats seemed “happy” to eat the insect-based food. Additionally, 94% of dogs and 50% of cats who enjoyed the diet ate the entire serving.  

“The results are ‘pawsome’, and a great inspiration for pet food companies looking to create the foods pets love,” said Bruna Loureiro, Ph.D., pet nutritionist and product development manager at Protix. “This test confirms the excellent acceptance of insect-based pet food, and paves the way for formulations that are naturally palatable, packed with health benefits and that offer a low pawprint. We are happy to support manufacturers in their new product development with our experience with various inclusion levels. Together we can provide pet nutrition that delivers more goodness to the world via insect ingredients.”

With this latest research in mind, Protix shared additional testing plans for PureeX. The company plans to conduct more palatability tests on PureeX involving cats, and hopes to collaborate with others to discover the optimal inclusion levels of PureeX, as well as the most suitable co-ingredients to optimize test, texture and nutrition in wet pet foods.

According to Loureiro, science is at the core of Protix’s business.

“Our strong focus on research ensures we offer a consistently high-quality portfolio backed by data,” he explained. “We aim to provide goodness for pets as well as for the planet. Our environmental credentials and low pawprint are reflected in the recently published Life Cycle Assessment conducted by DIL, the German Institute of Food Technologies. Moreover, we recently revealed the data of two antioxidant studies of insect-based ingredients and pet food. Every study brings us one step closer to a better world.”

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