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My Rescued Dogs Teach Me About Upcycling

*This blog post is also available in Spanish. Please find Spanish version below.


Let’s start with a bit of context; Tributo Natural Pet Food is a little family business from Chile, founded by husband and wife duo, Loreto and Alejandro. We develop natural pet food and snacks from Upcycled Salmon for a couple of reasons: 1) We love dogs and also because 2) we have both worked in the food industry for over 15 years. We decided that we must mix these 2 passions of ours and with our own savings we created Tributo Natural Pet Food (@tributo_cl)."Tributo" means Tribute, and it’s our tribute to dogs.


But why develop salmon based food for dogs?


For several years, we have been devoted to helping street dogs in Chile. In 2017, we even created the Saint Ignacio Rescue Foundation (@rescatados_), an organization dedicated to rescuing street dogs and rehabilitating them. In this work, one of the main questions we found ourselves asking was, “How do we feed them properly?”. Since we often rescued dogs in very bad health conditions, we knew the importance of good nutrition in ensuring a speedy recovery and an improvement on their overall health and well-being.


However, providing good and nutritious foods is incredibly expensive. Had we purchased these more expensive food products for our rescue dogs, we wouldn’t have been able to continue to support our foundation. We needed a solution to this problem. We put all of our energy towards finding a solution that would allow us to take better care of the dogs, while also keeping our business in a stable financial situation. That’s when creativity and knowledge came forward to let us see that the salmon, which is a very good source of protein, rich in Omega 3 DHA & EPA, was just in front of our eyes and we didn’t have to go far to find the solution to our problem!


Loreto is quality manager in a salmon farm where she witnessed 3 tons of salmon meat trimmings going to waste every month. So, after a lot of conversation with the owners, we signed a deal for them to donate this salmon to our company and together, reduce the amount of food being wasted. With this strategic partnership between a large company and our entrepreneurial family business, came the creation of Tributo and the development of freeze dried treats, pâté, fresh/frozen foods and many more to come.


For this reason and many others, we can proudly say that our dogs taught us about Upcycled Foods. This discovery emphasized how the ingredients we choose for our products are very important, but also how food is capable of telling a different story and gives us an alternative opportunity to make a global impact. It gives us hope to think that little by little, by upcycling, we can have a greater impact on the world. Tributo has a voice and innovative attitude that raises awareness about adopted dogs against food waste.


2021 must be a wake up call in Chile regarding this global movement of Upcycling. We have to knock on the doors of the many companies that waste a significant amount of food to show them that this can’t go on any longer and serve as an example of what the future can look like.


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Versión Español


¿Por qué los Perros Callejeros?


Para partir un poco de contexto; somos una pequeña empresa familiar chilena formada por Loreto y Alejandro (13 años de matrimonio) y nos dedicamos a desarrollar alimentos y snacks naturales para perros en base a Salmón Upcycled, y lo hacemos porque nos encantan los Perros y porque también ambos trabajamos en la industria de los Alimentos por más de 15 años y decidimos que teníamos que hacer una mezcla de estas dos pasiones y con nuestros propios ahorros creamos Tributo Natural Pet Food @tributo_cl (Tributo means Tribute; and it’s a tribute to dogs).


Pero… ¿Por qué desarrollar alimentos para perros en base a salmón?


Hace ya varios años nos dedicamos a ayudar perros de la calle y es por eso que el 2017 creamos la Fundación Rescatados San Ignacio (@rescatados_); y el principal tema ha sido ¿cómo alimentarlos adecuadamente? ya que rescatamos perros en condiciones de salud muy deterioradas o enfermos, por lo tanto, una adecuada nutrición nos asegura su pronta recuperación y una mejora en su salud y bienestar.


Dar una buena alimentación es muy caro, por lo que no íbamos a ser capaces de financiar nuestra Fundación y fue en ese momento en que nos pusimos de cabeza a buscar una solución, y la creatividad y el conocimiento nos permitieron darnos cuenta de que el salmón (proteína de buena calidad, rica en omega 3 DHA & EPA) estaba frente a nuestros ojos, y no había que ir muy lejos. Loreto es Gerente de Calidad de una salmonera que al mes botaba a la basura 3 ton de restos de carne de salmón que no eran utilizados en sus líneas de proceso. Así que después de varias conversaciones con las dueñas, logramos firmar un acuerdo de que todo este salmón sería donado a nuestra empresa, y así ayudaríamos entre ambos a ayudar a bajar el food waste.


Con esta asociación estratégica entre una Gran empresa y nuestro emprendimiento es que creamos “Tributo” y comenzamos a desarrollar diferentes tipos de productos liofilizados, patés, alimentos frescos y congelados, y muchos más por venir.


Es por estas y otras razones más que podemos decir con orgullo que nuestros perros nos enseñaron sobre los Upcycled Foods; donde el contenido de los ingredientes es muy importante; pero que sea un alimento capaz de contar una historia diferente y dar una alternativa de impacto global, nos llena de esperanza en pensar que de a poco podemos lograr que Tributo tenga una voz y actitud innovadora que concientiza sobre Adopted dogs against food waste.


Este 2021 tiene que ser el despegue en Chile de este movimiento mundial del upcycling y para eso tenemos que tocar puertas de muchas empresas que desechan gran cantidad de alimentos y lograr removerles el piso (y acá en Chile sí que sabemos de terremotos) y mostrarles la cantidad de oportunidades que no pueden continuar dejando pasar.

Author Bios












Loreto Arce & Alejandro Garcia


Loreta Arce is a co-founder of Tributo. She helps shape the development of the company with her experience in food combined with her love for dogs, and that she hopes to dedicate herself to it full time. Loreto has worked for 15 years as Quality Assurance Manager of the seafood company South Wind SA, where she is in charge of the HACCP, BRC and MSC C&C Programs (smoked salmon that is exported to USA, Europe, Asia). Loreto is a graduate of the University of Chile with a degree in Food Engineering. Get in touch at loreto@tributo.cl.


Alejandro Garcia has spent the last 11 years in his company of Food Quality Assurance Control Sigma Ltda. where he helps companies throughout Chile. Due to his entrepreneurial spirit and his experience, they have allowed him to continue to shape his vision and combine his passion for food and dogs in the development of Tributo. Alejandro has a degree in Aquaculture Engineering. Get in touch at alejandro@tributo.cl.

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