Can you tell us a bit about yourself/your background?
I grew up in San Antonio, Texas and moved to Austin for college to attend The University at Austin. I quickly fell in love with the city - how intentional so many Austinites were about health, wellness, and the environment. Since college, I've been in the better-for-you CPG industry in sales/marketing for food brands that help consumers make healthier decisions that also benefit the planet. Along the way, I met my husband, Mason Arnold, who helped catapult my passion for sustainability. Over the last two years, we launched a podcast, A Mostly Green Life, as well as a sustainable dog food company, The Conscious Pet together.
What was the inspiration behind The Conscious Pet?
Our podcast, A Mostly Green Life, is all about making sustainability more fun and approachable for the eco-curious. One of our content pillars is at-home sustainability, so we had Jeff Paine, owner of Break it Down (Austin's most comprehensive composting service), on as a guest to chat about ways to compost at home. Afterward, he told us about this new way Break it Down was processing 'food waste' through a novel dehydration process. One of the first food streams they dehydrated was protein (chicken/pork mix) and his dog went crazy for it. During that time, Mason and I got our first puppy together and after tons of research on the best foods to feed her, we quickly learned that most dog food has questionable ingredients and others cost as much as private school tuition! Thinking about these two huge problems - most dog food isn't great & human food waste - we got to work in our kitchen creating products that could help with both!
What trends are you seeing in your field right now?
Gently cooked products have exploded in the pet food industry over the last several years. Whether it's dehydrated, air-dried, or freeze-dried, all are healthier alternatives to traditional kibble which is cooked at high heat multiple times. Pet parents are utilizing these gently cooked alternatives as a complete meal or adding to their kibble to boost nutrition in their pet's diet.