An Australian start-up Paws-Off is using sweet potatoes diverted from landfill to create safe, healthy food for dogs, with two of its three lines entirely plant-based.
Based on the NSW Central Coast, Paws-Off is initially selling its dog food only online although, with the growing awareness and demand from around Australia, the products could likely soon find their way into stores.
The repurposing of upcycled foods has been a growing trend in the US for the past few years, says Paws-Off founder Ellen Vegter.
“There, they are continuing to grow and raise awareness about food waste and how to reduce it. But there is not a lot of awareness and use of Upcycled Food in Australia – yet.
“Although I’m sure there are businesses in Australia that use some sort of upcycled food, until now, no one really positioned a [dog food] brand in the Australian market using upcycled food.”
Paws-Off’s products comprise 30 per cent sweet potato, which Vegter says are safe and healthy for dogs, offering a range of health benefits and having a sweet flavour that dogs love. “Sweet potatoes support a healthy digestive system thanks to their high dietary content.”
Only one product contains meat – with a beef flavour. The others are Banana and Peanut Butter.
“Our mission is to challenge the big brands by introducing a really sustainable dog treat. We want to show the market that it’s possible to make a positive difference and fight food waste,” says Vegter.
“It’s going to be very small steps, but we want our dog treats to help create more awareness about Upcycled Food and how we can reduce food waste.”
She says the company only uses 100 per cent natural and human-grade ingredients in its products. “We’re making sure that the products we create are not only tasty and safe, but also good for your dog.”
The sweet potatoes Paws-Off uses are sourced from Queensland, from a waste stream of vegetables considered unsalable on the retail market. Using a natural, organic process, the potatoes are converted into a powder.
- Further reading: NZ company Omega Plus makes sustainable pet food from salmon offcuts.