Plant-Based "Faux Meat" Now Made For Dogs, Who Eat Poop Off The Ground

Wild Earth cofounder and CEO Ryan Bethencourt doesn't think humans should be the only species with access to plant-cultured food. During his years at startup accelerator IndieBio, he played a role in nurturing alternative, animal-free "meat" companies like Memphis Meats and Finless Foods. Now, he's creating faux-meat food for dogs, a species known to gleefully eat its own poop.


"I think we can do a lot better than the current industrial animal agriculture system," Bethencourt tells Forbes as part of a profile of Wild Earth. "I'm unapologetic in saying that I want to end the use of animals in our food system but I think the only rational way to do that is to give everyone a better option."

Everyone—including our pets. Wild Earth creates a plant-culture based dog food without antibiotics, carcinogens, or animal meat. (Author's note: As I type this, my black Labrador is chewing a used tissue she recovered from the trash.) There are already vegan pet foods on the market, but Wild Earth's differs in that it uses human consumption-grade koji protein, which is biologically related to mushrooms and packs the same amount of protein—or more—than animal-derived proteins. Bethencourt tells Forbes the food will be priced comparably to other pet food at $20-$30 per 20-pound bag, and will include dry and wet food for both dogs and cats.


It's understandable to want to feed your pet quality food, sure. My dog eats a high-protein "active dog" food that gets delivered monthly from and costs as much as a decent human dinner out. But I'm not kidding myself; despite the fancy food, my 7-year-old Lab has consumed the following:

  • my Chapstick
  • a pound of all-purpose flour
  • three unscented pillar candles
  • a padded manila envelope
  • bird poop
  • a wine cork
  • two sticks of incense
  • I have no doubt she'd eat this plant-culture, non-animal-protein food without a thought, just like she'd eat an entire shredded tennis ball covered in mud.