Butternut Box raises £1M for its algorithm-driven natural dog food startup


You’ve probably heard of HelloFresh-style businesses where you
are given tailored ingredients for your meals. Well now the
concept has come, literally, to dog food.

Butternut Box is a London
startup now bringing tailored, delivered meals to British dogs.
It’s aiming at dog owners who want high-quality ingredients put
into meals for their precious pooches.

The company is led by Goldman Sachs alumni Kevin Glynn and
David Nolan (aged 27 and 30 respectively), and is now
announcing a £1 million Seed round of investment from a leading
London early stage investor, Passion Capital.

Estimates for dog and cat food snacks in the UK is currently
£3.1 billion per annum, but only a tiny minority of these
products are cooked fresh. Plus, only two companies dominate an
estimated 77% of the UK pet food market.

However, they are not alone, competing with Lily’s Kitchen,
Tails.com and
Natural Instinct for
this lucrative new market.

That said, they say that unlike other brands, their proprietary
algorithm identifies how many kcals each individual dog needs
on a daily basis. They then remove the hassle by pre-portioning
this kcal amount into daily servings. They even taste test all
their food – with humans.

Glynn says “Pet owners are left choosing their dog food in an
aisle cluttered with washing powder and bin bags and dominated
by a few unhealthy choices. Butternut Box makes it easy and
convenient to ensure dogs get the very best diet tailored for
each individual.”

They appear to be pushing at an open door. Just as in humans,
obesity and related issues are said to be costing British dog
owners over £200 million in vet’s fees. Overfeeding, and
unhealthy food is leading to obesity. But Butternut Box’s
algorithms might be one answer. Nolan says: “We know their age,
weight, breed, activity levels and body condition. With this
information, we can develop meals that meet the dog’s specific
needs.” Meet the Quantified Dog.

Why create this tailored approach? Well, a
scientific study
found that dogs who were fed a natural,
home-made diet had a longer life capacity than those dogs who
were fed industrial canned products. The difference which is
mentioned in the study between those two diets is three years,
which is a long time in dog years.

After starting out in a family kitchen, with daily early
morning trips to London’s Smithfield meat market, Butternut Box
is now based in a kitchen in west London and sources all its
meat direct in Ireland and Britain. So far it’s cooked over
250,000 individual meals since it launched in April 2016.

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