Plant-based, cruelty-free foods are selling at historic highs across the United States as consumers increasingly consider animal welfare, personal health, and the environment.

The demand for plant-based pet products also is rapidly growing. Now, pioneering pet food producer Wild Earth is helping ensure companion animals and their people don’t get left behind by engineering healthy, protein-packed, options for dogs.

“Our customers are people that care about, first and foremost, the health of their animals, and secondly, about sustainability,” said Wild Earth CEO Ryan Bethencourt.

Wild Earth, which sells plant-based dog food and treats made from ingredients like dried yeast, chickpeas, oats, and pea proteins, saw a whopping 700% increase in growth from 2020 to 2021 and has more than 40,000 U.S. customers — proof that plant-based food for animals is here to stay, the company says.

Some high-stakes investors clearly agree.

Wild Earth recently secured more than $23 million from investing powerhouses including At One Ventures, Veginvest, Big Idea Ventures, and Bitburger Ventures. The company’s profile took off in 2019, when Wild Earth received $550,000 from American billionaire, entrepreneur, and television personality Mark Cuban.

With the new funds, Wild Earth hopes to transform the environmentally damaging pet food industry — one pet product at a time.

The company is currently developing beef, chicken, and seafood pet food products using cell-based meats —  a new technology in which muscle cells are painlessly harvested, then nurtured by scientists in a lab –and hopes to debut these products in 2022.

Bethencourt said choosing cruelty-free pet products also will help counter harmful environmental impacts from animal agriculture, factory farming, and industrial fishing.

“It’s a huge opportunity that will allow us to give pets — especially cats, which require meat in their diet — the food they need and want,” Bethencourt said.

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