It’s not just humans driving veganism forward – plant-based food is an ever-growing presence in pet diets. Globally, the vegan pet food sector is set to more than double in the next decade, swelling from $26bn in 2022 to $57.4bn in 2032. This growth is faster than that of conventional pet food.
Investment in this sector is at an all-time high, with start-ups across the globe raising sums to further product development and spur innovation in the sector. Here are some of the most notable recent funding stories in the plant-based pet food market:
Launched in 2020, UK vet-founded startup has been making waves in this space with its plant-based dog food. The brand’s name is a pushback to the perception that canines are carnivores.
In January, Omni launched a record-breaking crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs, smashing its £400,000 target within 15 minutes of going live on the platform. This came a year after it raised £1.1 million in funding, with investors including ProVeg International, Trellis Road, Kale United, Purple Orange Ventures and Shiocap. The brand has seen a 30% monthly revenue growth since May 2021 and sold half a billion meals in 2022.
Another UK dog food brand, The Pack closed its seed funding round in January with £835,000 ($1.01 million), held through global investment platform Vevolution. The startup plans to use the funds to launch a nutritionally complete, oven-baked dog food offering.
This investment round received participation from the likes of Scelta Products, Veg Capital, Kale United, Leap Ventures and the Mars Petcare Companion Fund (among others), as well as angel investors like Simon Day, Alicia Robb, Victoria Betoeski and Simon Newstead. The Pack was also one of the two pet nutrition startups to be selected for Leap Venture Studio’s 2021 accelerator programme.
A joint venture by the UK’s Roslin Technologies and cellular agriculture firm Agronomics, Good Dog Food is a cultivated pet food company launched in 2022. Earlier this month, it raised £3.6 million in a seed funding round, with Agronomics participating with a £1 million investment.
Jim Mellon, executive director of Agronomics, also financed £300,000, along with pet food investor Siddhi Capital and other private individuals.
Munich-based dog food startup Vegdog secured €3.5 million in Series A funding last November. Founded in 2016, the brand reported revenue of €2.4 million in 2021 and expected its turnover to cross €4 million last year.
Green Generation Fund led the financing round, while Startup Family Office and previous seed investor Katjes Greenfood also participated. The brand plans to use the funds to develop new products, expand into European markets, optimise sales channels and hire more staff.
While not an exclusively vegan company, UK startup Scrumbles offers a line of plant-based dog food. In March, it received £6 million ($7.3 million) in funding from UK private equity firm BGF (backed by banks like Barclays and HSBC).
Founded in 2016 by a husband-and-wife duo, the brand received B Corp recertification last year (after initially having it in 2018), and its revenues have tripled since its launch.
Heads Up for Tails is an Indian pet product retailer (with both brick-and-mortar and online presence). It’s expecting to raise $25 million from investment firm KKR, with an additional $10-15 million from existing investors, including Sequoia Capital and Verlinvest SA.
The retailer, which has 65 stores and 35 pet spas across 12 Indian cities, previously raised $37 million through Series A funding in 2021 and reported operating revenue of $15.1 million in 2022 (an 86% year-on-year growth).
While Heads Up for Tails isn’t an all-vegan platform, it’s a key player in the pet food market and is looking to diversify the segment by exclusively launching Canadian plant-based pet food brand Nature’s Hug in India – signalling a truly cross-continent trajectory for this sector.
The market opportunity is ripe with so much investment activity happening in this space. Manufacturers are urged to invest in ethical feeding trials and peer-reviewed studies to validate this sector further. Even among consumers, interest is rising: in 2022, a third of Brits said they’d be looking to invest in vegan pet food as long as it was healthy, according to a study by The Vegan Society.
It cited research by the Pet Food Manufacturers Association, which found that 59% of UK households shared their home with a companion animal in 2021, with 33% living with cats and 27% with dogs.
In The Vegan Society’s survey, 20% of respondents with cats said they had purchased vegan cat food in the past, with 49% saying they’d be interested in buying it again. Likewise, 24% of those with dogs had bought plant-based canine food in the past, and 45% were looking to do so again.
With consumers more attuned to the environmental cost of the products they consume, as well as the growing trend of humanising pets, the financial opportunity for vegan pet products is massive.
The industry has been around for a while, and trailblazers like V-Dog, Benevo and Wild Earth have been leading this movement. But newcomers are furthering this trend and increased investment is pushing the vegan pet food market to new, unprecedented heights.