The “dog days of summer” will have a whole new meaning this year for the team behind Grubbly Farms.
The Atlanta-based startup and Create-X graduate, known for its sustainable food sources for backyard chickens, is expanding into dog treats.
It is a strategic move for the company looking to make sustainable insect-based protein more mainstream in the US pet food market, said CEO Sean Warner.
“When we first got into Grubbly Farms, one of the first things we realized was how beneficial the grub protein can be to such a wide variety of animals. So even years ago when we started, the vision was to break into more traditional pet food,” Warner told Hypepotamus. “We realized if we wanted to make the largest impact on the planet, we had to start tackling larger and larger market sizes.”
And dog food certainly provides that market size. The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates over 38% of American households have a dog, and those dogs have traditionally been fed artificial or animal protein-based food.
Grubbly Farrms noted that the expansion into dog treats is about making pet ownership a bit more environmentally friendly overall. A 2017 study from UCLA suggests that the impact American dogs and cats have on the environment is equivalent to a year’s worth of driving by 13.6 million cars.
Grubbly is calling its hypoallergenic product line for dogs Vroomies, a fun name to showcase that the food promotes healthy joints and encourages an active lifestyle. Instead of relying on animal protein from unsustainable sources, Vroomies are made with farm-fresh vegetables and grub protein.
“Pet parents care deeply about their pet’s nutrition and are constantly seeking ways to provide healthier options for them. With Grubbly, our customers can better nourish their pets and feel good about lessening their environmental impact while doing so,” Warner added in a statement.
Grubbly’s product expansion follows recent national oversight changes in the overall pet food space. The AAFCO, an independent organization that works closely with the USDA and FDA, looks at ingredients going into pet and livestock food. The AAFCO approved the use of specific insect proteins in dog food in late 2021, opening the doors for Grubbly Farms to come to market with their product this year.
Vroomies is just the latest sign of growth for the Atlanta-based startup, which Warner started with his cousin and fellow Georgia Tech grad Patrick Pittaluga. The team has seen impressive growth as backyard chickens become more mainstream.
They are backed by investors at Overline, Techstars, and Oval Park Capital.
The Grubbly team is now up to 15 people, having recently added a VP of Finance, a VP of Growth, and a Director of Operations to help the company scale in the CPG space.