Here’s a way to never worry if your company’s in vitro meat tastes too fake: Feed it to pets! A new start-up in Colorado is trying to hook America’s domesticated animals up with their own high-tech, lab-grown proteins. According to Quartz, a former ad exec named Rich Kelleman launched the company, called Bond Pets, after feeling tricked by the low-quality ingredients big manufacturers like Friskies and Pedigree were using in their products.
Fancy pet food is in high demand these days, but if it’s still mass-produced, it probably isn’t much healthier than the less expensive stuff. At root, it boils down to pet owners’ guilt, the rationale being that if you think Taco Bell’s “seasoned beef” is suspect, you should be aware that pet food makes pink slime look great. Humans get the lean muscle on animals; the miscellaneous leftover bones, organs, feet, and beaks are ground into pet food.
Still, the company is entering an industry that, even after several years of R&D, struggles to make products at scale and cheaply enough for humans. (Imagine Purina making 30-pound bags of chicken-and-rice blend with Memphis Meats’ lab chicken — it retails for $6,000 a pound right now.) Silicon Valley food-tech companies like Hampton Creek and Mosa Meat, run by the man who made Google co-founder Sergey Brin’s $325,000 vat-grown hamburger, would probably advise moving one step at a time here, but Kelleman tells Quartz that he believes dogs and cats will have their own cell-cultured meats as soon as Bond gets funding and ramps up production.