Veterinarian Lyn Thomson started Raw Essentials two years ago because she struggled to find a source for the raw meat and bone she felt was the natural diet for her dogs.
From its genesis in a small building behind the West Lynn shops, it now sells 12 tonnes of pet food a week through four outlets.
“Possum, rabbit, hare, those are all pest species, so as part of the bigger picture turning them into pet food is very sustainable,” Thomson says.
“It’s also more sustainable for food miles. Most processed pet food is imported. A lot of it is chicken meal, fish meal, so low-quality ingredients, and there are lots of grains and starches which are not appropriate for carniverous animals, as well as preservatives and colouring.”
She says one of of the biggest battles has been finding reliable suppliers. Road kill is out, and everything has to be traceable.
“We have worked closely with two main suppliers, so as we grow and they see demand increase, it gives them confidence to do more pest control,” she says.
Getting involved in the awards has helped Thomson look at other aspects of sustainable business, from the refrigeration and transport it uses, to staff uniforms, to waste recycling.