Environmental impact of pet food ingredients and products via life cycle assessment

Petfood Forum recently spoke with Sean Madison, director of North American business development, Innovafeed to learn more about his 2023 Petfood Forum presentation. Madison explores the life cycle assessment (LCA), a dynamic tool that seeks to quantify environmental impact of a product or ingredient during the “Novel pet food ingredients and nutrition concepts” concurrent session on Tuesday, May 1 at 1:30-2:00 pm. Register here to learn from Madison and 20+ other industry experts.

He shares a case study of how this standard methodology was applied to Innovafeed’s insect-based ingredients, where the environmental impact of the production process was quantified and compared with traditional ingredients. Sustainable trends in pet food show no sign of slowing down, and LCAs can be applied in the pet food space and utilized as a marketing tool and to achieve sustainability goals.

Petfood Forum: What is the single, most important concept or piece of information you hope attendees will learn from your presentation?

Madison: To stay ahead of the sustainability curve, brands and suppliers need to use the most up-to-date tools at their disposal to quantity environmental impact towards objectives across the value chain. Life Cycle Assessment is the premier tool to achieve this goal.

Petfood Forum: Please explain the significance of this concept or information to the pet food industry and your organization:

Madison: The pet food industry has been going through a sustainability revolution as of late with leading brands and companies setting ambitious targets to cut emissions across all aspects of their business, and as a result, it’s never been more important to measure the impact of activities, products, and inputs across the value chain. Life Cycle Assessment is a vital tool to quantify impact and ensure partners are speaking the same language.

Innovafeed was founded to change the way we think about our food and feed systems. By introducing insect-based ingredients that are high-quality, sustainable, and performant through an expansion of the ingredient basket—i.e. existing feed and food resources are not being diverted to our production—we can begin to tackle global issues like protein deficits and food industry emissions. To get us there, we rely on tools like Life Cycle Assessments to quantify our impact and that of our partners.

Petfood Forum: What are potential next developments or stages in this specific field? Where do you hope future development or research takes it, or how you plan to progress it? 

Madison: The biggest change is emissions reporting making the transition from a nice-to-have to a need-to-have across industries, and when that happens, Life Cycle Assessment and similar analyses will become even more crucial. This future would allow for all the cards to be on the table, and appropriate pressure to be applied to areas of emission reduction that need to be most prioritized.

Petfood Forum: What pets rule your household?

Madison: I have a 3-year-old Husky Shepherd named George. My wife and I rescued him during Covid lockdown and he has brought so much joy to our lives with his endless energy—and hair! We welcomed our daughter to the world when he was 2 and it was amazing to see him develop into a gentle and caring older brother. George is a Chicago dog through and through and loves going to the Belmont Harbor and Montrose dog beaches and even won a dog race event with the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.

About Petfood Forum

The 2023 edition of Petfood Forum is scheduled for May 1-3 at the Kansas City Convention Center in Kansas City, Missouri, USA. Petfood Forum includes an agenda packed with opportunities to network and collaborate with industry professionals, learn the latest in pet food innovation and discover new tools for business success.