A pioneering brand of organic dog biscuits that you can finish baking yourself at home has been launched in the Algarve and is already proving a success.
Bake My Dog Happy was created by Tiago Braga, a 31-year-old with a master’s degree in Marine Biology from the University of the Algarve (UAlg) who decided to turn a homely pastime into a business venture.
“The idea came to me because I was always making biscuits and cakes for my three dogs. I would adapt the recipes based on the knowledge I have, and people became curious,” said Braga.
“They wanted to know how I made the biscuits, and the benefits of each ingredient, so that they could try the recipes themselves for their own dogs.”
The plan was put into motion after the pandemic hit, and his idea won first place in the ‘Ideias em Caixa’ competition (category ‘agrifood’) organised by UAlg. And so, Bake My Dog Happy was born.
According to the founder, “this is a culinary experience for people to enjoy with their family and their dog, too!
“It is more than a product, it is a pioneering brand in Portugal,” Braga said.
But how exactly does the concept work?
It is simple – clients purchase a bag containing a mix of flour and other natural ingredients. Then, at home, all they have to do is add one egg and water to the mix, roll out the dough, cut out shapes using the biscuit cutter provided and bake for 25 minutes in the oven. The dough should be enough to make 200 biscuits.
The brand was officially launched on November 12 at the Loulé Interfood Fest. Tiago Braga is confident that his project can fill a void in the Portuguese market.
“There is no other brand like this in Portugal. We only know of one foreign brand that sells mixes for birthday cakes or cupcakes,” he explained.
The recipes are created with the help of business partner Luísa Custódio, 47, who his completing her PhD in Vegetable Biotechnology and is also a researcher at the Centre of Marine Sciences at UAlg.
“Luísa’s collaboration helps validate all the benefits of the ingredients used in the mix,” said Braga.
For example, the brand’s first recipe is called MARAF-8 and includes only carob, carrot, spelt and quinoa. In other words, it doesn’t contain any colouring, preservatives or sugar.
“All recipes are our own, inspired by what we know dogs like and based on our (academic) knowledge of what they can and can’t eat,” he said.
Luísa Custódio stresses that all nutritional values and benefits undergo lab tests. Veterinarian Marta Botelho completes the team and has “the final say” on each recipe.
The brand’s next recipe is due to be launched this month and was inspired by the “colours of Christmas”, promising to help bolster dogs’ immune systems this winter. Among the ingredients are spinach, peas, and hemp.
Although the brand was launched less than a month ago, almost all biscuit mixes have been sold.
“We receive orders every day, and always for more than one bag,” said Braga, adding that the brand’s next steps are already being planned.
Clients will later be able to select which ingredients are used in the mix based on their pet’s needs, focusing on allergies, age or joint issues.
The brand is also considering expanding the business to cat owners.
“Cats are harder to please palate-wise, but we are trying to understand what they like,” said Luísa Custódio.
Another project involves setting up a research centre, so that “Bake My Dog Happy could carry out tests both on dog food and supplements,” said Tiago Braga.
How to order
Ordering the Bake My Dog Happy mix bag is simple and can be done through the brand’s social media Instagram page (@bakemydoghappy) or website (www.bakemydoghappy.com). Each order includes a 300g mix bag, a dog bone biscuit cutter and baking instructions.
Original article by Maria Simiris for Barlavento newspaper