OVERLAND PARK, KAN. and BOULDER, COLO. — Hill’s Pet Nutrition is accelerating the development of more sustainable pet food proteins thanks to its partnership with Bond Pet Foods, a biotechnology company using fermentation technology to create animal-free protein ingredients that are biologically identical to real meat.

As the latest development in their partnership, the two companies announced Feb. 5 that Bond Pet Foods has officially shipped the first 2 tonnes of fermented animal protein to Hill’s Pet Nutrition Center in Topeka, Kan., where the protein will be used to formulate test diets for regulatory and market evaluation.

“Producing tons of product at the 45,000-liter scale is a major milestone in the Bond-Hill’s collaboration,” said Rich Kelleman, founder and chief executive officer of Bond Pet Foods. “Additionally, Hill’s commitment to expand on our work together demonstrates the opportunity we collectively see in Bond’s ingredients for their and the pet industry’s food future.”

Data gleaned from Hill’s test pet food diets will go on to serve as a baseline for future prototypes to gauge market acceptance. The diets will also be offered up for review by the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) to ensure regulatory compliance and safety, setting the stage for the development of more sustainable pet food proteins moving forward.

The precision fermentation process used to create Bond Pet Foods’ ingredients is based on an age-old method used to make a range of products from enzymes to cheese to vitamin B12, according to the company. Bond has taken this process and fine-tuned it to produce traditional animal proteins — such as chicken, turkey and beef — without the need for raising, slaughtering or processing farm animals.

According to research published in PLOS One, dogs and cats account for up to 30% of the carbon dioxide emissions that come from domestic meat consumption. Through partnerships like the one between Hill’s Pet Nutrition and Bond Pet Foods, the concept of scalable, sustainable pet food proteins is now becoming reality.

“Hill’s is known for its leadership in precise, complete-and-balanced, science-based nutrition,” said Dave Baloga, executive vice president of science and technology at Hill’s Pet Nutrition. “We are excited to continue our relationship with Bond and support their truly novel approach to produce animal proteins in a more sustainable way that meets our high-quality standards.”

Additionally, the companies have also signed a second Joint Development Agreement to build on their existing collaboration first announced in 2021. This second agreement entails the development of another animal protein to be used in Hill’s pet food products.

Read more about product development, ingredients and formulation.