BRUSSELS — On Dec. 14, biotechnology startup Paleo published a patent application to apply its non-animal-based myoglobin in pet food formulas. The company’s myoglobins are produced using precision fermentation and without relying on any animal-based ingredients, offering pet food companies a way to answer the demand for meat alternatives.

Similar to hemoglobin, myoglobins are red proteins that contain heme, which transport and store oxygen in muscles.

Founded in 2020, Paleo has witnessed promising results for its myoglobins in human applications. Tests have shown that minimal inclusions of Paleo’s myoglobin can help significantly increase the palatability of vegan and plant-based foods for humans.

With demand growing for more sustainable pet foods, Paleo is now eyeing the pet food industry. According to Paleo, the patent application is the world’s first for the use of non-animal-derived precision fermentation myoglobin.

Paleo's myoglobins aim to fulfill a gap in the market for non-animal based palatantsSource: Paleo

Through a proprietary precision fermentation process, Paleo develops myoglobin protein ingredients that are entirely bio-identical to those from animals. The ingredients can offer an authentic taste, aroma, appearance, and the same nutritional attributes as traditional fish and meat ingredients, all without using any animals. Paleo’s myoglobins are GMO-free and offer highly tailored heme, which is responsible for the meaty flavor and smell, as well as browning that happens to animal-based meat when cooked.

Paleo’s myoglobins are poised to meet a gap in the market of non-animal-based palatants. The ingredients have the potential to replicate the natural flavors of animal-based proteins with which  pets are familiar, according to the startup.

“The vegan market projected growth is significant, but still faces challenges that are similar to the ones we have seen in human food: taste and olfactory experience is critical to increase acceptance of plant-based options,” said Hermes Sanctorum, chief executive officer of Paleo. “We believe that Paleo’s ingredients have the potential to address this taste gap and exponentially help drive palatability.

“We are now reaching out to pet food manufacturers who are interested in possible inclusion of our myoglobins and in working together to develop pet food applications,” he added.

Read more about product development, ingredients and formulation.