Cape couple’s dog biscuit makes move to using insect protein for better nutrition
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Cape Town - A Cape Town couple, who are also humanitarians, are man’s best friend when it comes to creating dog biscuits, which contain insect protein and organic products, and have even eaten the treats to prove it was fit for a well-loved pet.
Doggobone is the brainchild of Zakira Palekar and her husband Abdul Kadir Palekar, of Schaapkraal.
The company is one of several companies globally, who are moving towards insect protein for nutrition for pets.
The industry is guided by research and animal nutritionists.
Animal nutritionist Dr Richard Patton, who has a PHD, based in New Mexico, in the USA, who has been working for over 30 years in agriculture and zoos, has spent decades studying and researching the nutritional benefits of insects.
He is the couple’s consultant for their product.
Like him, local pet food developers are also moving forward with this new “regime” of dog food.
Together Abdul and Zakira have managed to develop their own signature brand of biscuits for dogs called “Kricky Kracker,’’ which they used human grade ingredients – including insect protein – under the watch and guidance of Dr Patton.
The business has been trading since 2006.
Zakira is the head of the company and, in 2013, they went nationwide with suppliers.
Abdul and his family made headlines in August, when they reflected on how they – together with volunteers from Cape Town Mermom Association (CTMA), and Giving Feeding Foundation (GIFFT) – provided oxygen concentrators for free to those who needed it while battling with Covid-19.
A video showcases Abdul eating the biscuit.
“We began in 2006 and my wife is the head of the company,” said Abdul.
“We developed our own signature brand of biscuits, using human grade ingredients, and one of the first to produce it containing insect protein. It has no added preservatives and no colouring, high protein and is eco-friendly. We didn't want to create just any dog biscuit,” he said.
He said, by biting, it he was demonstrating that it has human-grade ingredients.
“Some pets have allergy issues and this biscuit is gluten-free. It has cricket protein, pumpkin organic coconut oil,” he added.
Patton said the ideology was to have an open mind.
He commended Zakira and Abdul for their way of thinking.
“My graduate research, many decades ago, was investigating the nutritional value of insects.
“I have long been convinced that insects are an excellent food source. Our biggest challenge is overcoming the ’yuck’ factor of people. Pets, other animals, and our ancestors had no such hesitation. Several companies have already embarked on insect production for pet foods. Insects should be considered with an open mind.
“They can grow and thrive on food waste that people don't use, turning it into quality nutrition for pets. Everyone wins, including the environment,” said Patton.
Dominic Malan, of Malteno dog foods, said they also use black soldier flies for their foods.
He said that in the case of a fly, it has anti-microbial peptides which are good for the gut and animal well-being, and that there had been interesting benefits of insect proteins.
“We focus on black soldier flies, which are obviously different to crickets, however, insects in general have some interesting benefits as an inclusion in pet food and human food in years to come. Some benefits include: Hypoallergenic source of protein (due to its novel protein status), The fatty acid profile of many insects contain medium chain triglycerides, which are excellent for energy and overall weight management for the ageing dog.
“The black soldier fly contains antimicrobial peptides which, essentially, strip the gut of non-desirable bacteria – improving overall gut health and, ultimately, animal well-being.