Sustainability and environmental claims made by cat food brands
The majority of the companies scored poorly for their discussions and action on the environment, with only Vegeco (Benevo) and Ami scoring a best.
Most sustainability claims on the websites of brands focused on the recyclability of packaging, which is a very minimal part of these products’ environmental impact. For example, Pooch & Mutt’s website said that it was going to make all of its packaging recyclable by 2025, “meaning you can feel good knowing you're feeding your pooch a healthy diet that they love, from a brand that looks after the environment too.”
We found discussions of LED lighting, planting trees, renewable energy and recycling, but very little about the animal farming behind companies’ actual products.
Corporate giant, Nestlé, was one of the worst offenders in this category, with a 2023 report highlighting that “Nestlé’s emissions from its dairy and livestock supply chains are, by its own admission, forecast to grow under a business-as-usual scenario by 16.4 million tonnes to 50.6 million tonnes". Skirting around the elephant in the room and discussing renewable energy and packaging doesn’t really cut it in light of this.
Packaging and sustainability
Plastic waste from single-use plastic and non-recyclable materials heavily pollutes communities and the environment. The majority being discarded and incinerated, fuelling inequalities across the globe, with high-consuming countries dumping their waste in low-income countries.
Avoid brands that use plastic single-use pouches or other non-recyclable materials. Also even if the package says it is recyclable, check where you will be able to recycle – some packaging materials are only recycled at places like supermarkets or with your local council.
What did companies say about their packaging?
Not all of the companies mentioned their packaging. We included information we could find below:
As of 2021, Yarrah’s bags are fully recyclable, albeit made from plastic. It still uses individual food pouches which aren’t yet fully recyclable.
Inspired Pet Nutrition (Harringtons, AATU, and Meowing Heads) says that all of its packaging is 98% recyclable and it's working towards 100%.
Pooch & Mutt (who make cat food, despite the name) has pledged that all of its packaging will be recyclable by 2025. Its wet food comes in 100% recyclable TetraPaks.
Scrumbles said it planned to reduce the amount of packaging for its products by 33% in 2022 (it didn’t give an update on whether it met this) and that its treat range packaging is 100% recyclable. In 2023, it aims to have 100% recyclable cat food tins, though current progress with this is unknown.
Mars (James Wellbeloved, Lovebug, Perfect Fit, Royal Canin, Sheba, Whiskas) has the aim of using 100% recyclable packaging by 2025.
In 2022, Purina (of Nestlé) launched its first “designed to be recyclable” pouch ranges in the UK, and it promised to introduce reusable or recyclable packaging by 2025. It wasn’t clear how much would be recyclable, or “reusable”, nor what “reusable” even means.