Pup Pup Foods

Pup Pup Foods LogoHayden Smith Pup Pup Foods

Pup Pup Foods is a sustainable insect based dog treat brand that is good for the planet as well as the lucky pooch in your life.

Hayden Smith, Executive Chef and entrepreneur is no stranger to nutrition or to the startup world- in 2018, he founded The Cricket Hop Co., a cricket protein company selling worldwide as well as launching Eden One, a day spa & gym which features a private member’s club, in Ballsbridge in 2020.

“When Eden One shut down during the pandemic, I started making food for my newly adopted pug puppy Clem Fandango, who is as fussy as she is adorable.” Hayden tells us.

Cooking for Clem led Hayden to turn his talents to canine nutrition full-time and her nickname “pup pup” inspired both the brand and logo. In late 2021, Pup Pup Foods was launched.

Dog Treats with a Difference

Pup Pup Foods is producing Ireland’s first insect-based dog treats and nutrition supplements. All of the products contain exclusively human-grade superfoods which are predominantly Irish-sourced.

Pup Pup’s unique focus on function, quality and sustainability meets the global consumer concern with emotional and physical pet welfare and tackles issues such as stress, anxiety, hypertension, separation anxiety and diseases associated with poor nutrition and diet.

“Pup Pup’s products, branding and marketing are strategically designed to meet the rising global attitudes toward humanising pets and pet foods; our products are relevant, on-trend, and in demand.”

The company are the first Irish company to produce insect-based pet products and are the first company worldwide to produce cricket-based dental sponges and calming chews.

“In terms of competition, we are the only treat which is insect-based AND functional (anti-anxiety, dental, and gut health).  We are the only dental sponge and long-lasting dental chew; our competitors have cookie-based products.

Pup Pup’s Top Pup Prebiotic Microbiome Booster & Nutritional Meal Topper will be the first cricket-based nutritional meal topper in any market worldwide.”

Prices range from €9.99-€12.99

Becoming Self Employed

After travelling and working as head chef throughout Asia and Australia, Hayden had garnered a vast knowledge of different cuisines, personnel and financial kitchen management. Tired of unsociable hours and determined to make the best use of his skills, Hayden moved into kitchen consultancy. From there, he launched Cricket Hop and then Pup Pup Foods. Hayden had great belief in the products and though he knew there was going to be a huge amount of work and learning involved he relished the challenge.


“A huge challenge for Pup Pup Foods was the delay by the Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in finalising the Cricket Protein Legislation. This caused the launch date to be pushed back by almost a year. Covid also played a part in the challenges as major shipping delays caused by the pandemic put a severe delay on obtaining raw materials and packaging. It has been a very time-consuming process.”

Changing the target market

Hayden is building a strong base with the Irish market before branching out world-wide.

“Originally we cast a big net trying to get into the EU, UK and US markets simultaneously. We have now decided to focus on the local Irish market and build it organically whilst chipping away at larger markets. We’ve had some good feedback from customers and buyers and are developing more products for the range which would be aimed more at the larger general market.”

Patience is a virtue

Hayden and the team have great confidence in their products and also their branding.

“We know the product is good and the branding is strong. It's just a long-haul game which needs a lot of work and a big marketing budget. Especially in the E-commerce platforms and choosing where you invest your time and money is sometimes overwhelming. There are so many different sales channels that you need to be familiar with all of them and need to have a diverse and varied sales approach in place.  We had some feedback from the former CEO of a leading UK pet food company who loved the concept and warned us that this would take time as it was such a new concept. That reinforced that what we had was good but we needed to be patient.”

LEO Supports

Pup Pup Foods applied for and was granted a Feasibility Study Grant in 2021. Feasibility grants are designed to assist with researching market demand for a product or service and examining its sustainability.

“The LEO process took some time but it was a good learning experience. You have to really go through your business plan and look at every aspect. This helps you to develop it and make changes as needed. They offered a lot of free workshops which are invaluable to a start-up and have a number of business mentors in place. The grant funding helped get the project started, and helped with cash flow which is the lifeblood of any business. We would strongly recommend any young entrepreneur to seek out the services they and Enterprise Ireland offer.” Hayden says.

Future Aspirations

Hayden plans on taking Pup Pup Foods world-wide and is continuing to grow and develop more functional and delicious treats for all types of dogs. Pup Pup Foods goal is to help create awareness about sustainable alternative proteins which can help improve the environment.

Hayden’s advice for budding entrepreneurs

“It's a hard slog. Be prepared to learn a lot on the fly. There is so much involved with a new project, from trademarks to VAT, legal, accounts, marketing and PR, contracts, agreements etc. Also, be prepared to pivot and change accordingly and quickly. If you believe in the product then stick with it, but be cautious that it will take time and funds. Even if the first business does not work, it is a valuable experience and you will make the next project much better through the exercise. Also remember that nothing ventured is nothing gained. Go for it, and good luck!”

 Pup Pup banner


Website: www.puppupfoods.com 

Instagram: www.instagram.com/puppupfoods

Email: hello@puppupfoods.com