What do Bill Gates, Google founder Sergey Brin, Alphabet CEO Eric Schmidt and Tyson Foods have in common? They all see a very bright future for alternatives to conventional meat.
Investing in the future
After trying Beyond Meat’s plant-based chicken strips, Mr. Gates invested in the company, declaring, “What I was experiencing was more than a clever meat substitute. It was a taste of the future of food.”
Mr. Brin also put his money where his mouth is, investing hundreds of thousands of dollars to create the first “clean meat” hamburger (clean meat production involves growing real meat in meat fermenters, bypassing the inefficiencies of cycling grains through animals). In just the past two years, four clean meat companies have been founded, and production costs have fallen by 98 percent.
Good for the world, and your wallet
Last year, at the Milken global summit, Mr. Schmidt declared that plant-based meat is one of six technological innovations that will improve life for humanity by at least ten-fold in the fairly near future. Why? Because of the ability of plant-based meat to deliver high-quality protein to the developing world, while requiring far fewer resources and creating far less pollution than conventional meat.
Last year, Tyson Foods launched its first venture capital fund, and the fund’s very first move was to co-invest with Mr. Gates in Beyond Meat. The meat giant sees the investment as a smart business move, because the plant-based meat market sector is about to explode.
The new food future
Right now, plant-based meat represents about one-quarter of one percent of the meat market, but that is about to change, and smart investors like Bill Gates and Tyson Foods are getting in on the ground floor. Indeed, Lux Research predicts that by 2054, plant-based meat will command one-third of the global meat market. There are multiple ways to help animals and create a more sustainable food supply. One way, which is being pioneered in the private sector, is creating alternatives to animal-based meat that consumers want to purchase, because they are delicious, price competitive and convenient. Talented entrepreneurs, food scientists and investors are coming together to create the new food future. Everybody eats, and almost everybody eats meat, so there is tremendous good to be done and fortunes to be made. Will you join the revolution?
Bruce Friedrich, Executive Director, The Good Food Institute, [email protected]