We first discovered Jiminy’s cricket protein-based dog food and treats last year and recently tried a variety of their snacks with our dogs, Lizzie and Miriam. There are not many choices we can make when shopping that produce a bigger change in environmental impacts than switching to Jiminy’s cricket-based dog treats.
The first test of any product is whether the intended customer enjoys it, and our dogs have started to dance when the Jiminy’s bag comes out of the drawer. Usually picky eaters, the dogs love these “bug treats” and we’ll continue to use them in training and as everyday treats because Jiminy’s cuts their CO2 and water foodprints by 99.99%.
We tested the Chewy Pumpkin & Carrot and Chewy Sweet Potato & Peas cricket treats, along with the two kibble dog foods Jiminy makes. Both were a big hit; the dogs were eager for their meal when it included Jiminy’s Cricket Crave and Good Grub dry kibble dog foods as an addition to their regular food.
If your dogs prefer high-protein treats, these will do the trick — our dogs have reacted with the enthusiasm they reserved for chicken jerky treats. Most of the new treats we have tried get a resounding Meh from our poodles but Jiminy’s is getting them to dance and whirl like a Dervish at the height of their dhikr.
Let’s look in detail at Jiminy’s products and its packaging, which is the single shortcoming we found during our review.
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Crickets Could Save the World
Pets need protein but the production of animal protein carries a heavy environmental burden. Just 3.5 ounces of beef protein requires 581 gallons of water, 2.2 pounds of cattle feed, and produces 0.62 pounds of CO2. In contrast, the same amount of cricket protein consumes only two-hundredths of a gallon of water, .4 pounds of feed, and emits just 0.0002 pounds of CO2. That translates into a 99.99% decrease in water usage and CO2 emissions. And compared to chicken, cricket protein still delivers a 99.99% reduction because of the efficiencies of cricket farming.
Cricket is also a more efficient source of protein than animal sources. It provides 3 times more protein by volume than beef, five times the omega 3 oils than the same amount of salmon, and twice the iron of spinach with all nine amino acids necessary for a balanced diet.
If you were to feed your dog just eight 6-ounce bags of Jiminy’s treats over the course of a year instead of the same amount of beef treats, you would save almost 8,000 gallons of water. The water savings alone justifies switching to Jiminy’s.
A Dutch company, Burgs Foods, is working on cricket-based meat alternatives. That currently feels like a bridge too far for my diet. But after seeing how much my dogs like it, I will have to give it a try when the product is available.
Cruelty-free, Low-Allergen, & Affordable Food Source
Because crickets are insects that are allowed to live to their full lifespan and then chilled into hibernation before they are roasted, there are no significant animal cruelty concerns.
Cricket protein is unlikely to trigger allergies in your dog. Humans with a shellfish allergy may react to cricket protein, and if your dog has ever demonstrated an allergy to shellfish, avoid giving it Jiminy’s treats.
Jiminy’s treats are more expensive than some beef, pork, or chicken options. But when compared to similar soft premium dog treats, Jiminy’s price per ounce falls right in the middle of the pack at $1.65 per ounce at the $9.95 retail price, according to our comparison with a half dozen beef options.
We found that our dogs ate less and had more energy when we added Jiminy’s dry kibble to their regular food for a week. Because one of our dogs requires a special diet, we have not replaced her meals with Jiminy’s two dry kibble products, Cricket Crave and Good Grub. On a price basis, Jiminy’s kibble is about twice as expensive by the pound as traditional dog food (but what caring pet owner would feed their dogs those filler-laden foods?) and about 20% more expensive than premium foods.
Room for Packaging Improvement
Every company has room for improvement and at Jiminy’s, the packaging needs an upgrade. Soft food products require a moisture barrier in the packaging to prevent spoilage and drying. Jiminy’s ships its treats in resealable PET plastic bags that are not recyclable with most curbside programs. We asked Jiminy about their plans, and learned that an initial test of a recyclable bag was not successful because it did not hold its shape in regular use.
A new generation of food-grade recyclable and biodegradable packaging has come to market in recent years and we urge Jiminy’s to use a recyclable alternative. With a recyclable, biodegradable package, Jiminy’s would be almost a perfect sustainable switch, which is a rarity. Even with the current packaging, it is the best dog treat option we’ve found.
You may be able to recycle Jiminy’s pouches with TerraCycle, which offers a Kitchen Separation Zero Waste Box that accepts this type of bag. But the box, which can be shipped back to TerraCycle for free, starts at $113. Jiminy tells us that they are collaborating with Terracycle to develop a recycling program.
“We’ve made a commitment through the Climate Collaborative to improve our packaging and we take this seriously,” Jiminy founder and CEO Anne Carlson said. “We recently entered into a partnership with the Packaging Collaborative through One Step Closer’s Packaging Collaborative to secure compostable and renewable flexible film structures with appropriate barrier qualities.”
A Modern Choice
The Jiminy’s treats provide one of the most dramatic sustainable switches you can make for your pet. The reduced use of land for animal feeding, using less feed by a factor of almost 1,000%, reduced water consumption, and lower CO2 emissions you will realize by adopting an insect-based treat for your dogs makes the choice a no-brainer.
Figuring out which flavor of Jiminy’s treats your dogs will enjoy most is the hardest choice you’ll face, and that’s the fun part: watching your dogs jump and cavort for their favorite treat. The company offers snack bundles so you can try them all before you settle on your choice. Check out Jiminy’s at Amazon.com.