Beyond Meat's Ethan Brown Credits Millennials, Whole Foods for Success

Beyond Meat's Ethan Brown Credits Millennials, Whole Foods for Success

Ethan Brown created Beyond Meat to solve animal cruelty, environmental degradation, and improve human health.

  • Beyond Meat's Burger and Sausage are in high-demand and now available through Sysco, Whole Foods, and TGI Fridays.

Ethan Brown grew up on a farm. It was this childhood that led him to believe that there had to be a different way to create delicious meats. Using science (and a little time) Brown developed a plant protein burger that has been lauded for its incredible performance as an imitation beef burger. Reviews illustrate nothing less than pure disbelief in tasting the “bleeding” burger.

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Global Meat Provider Cargill Invests in Pea Company To Increase Alternative Protein Production

Global Meat Provider Cargill Invests in Pea Company To Increase Alternative Protein Production

Alternative protein is growing tremendously in popularity.

Many supplier companies are taking note of this and are investing in this segment in order to not be left out of the growing market. While some, like Tyson Foods are investing in startups, like Memphis Meats, that are growing meat in a more sustainable way, others like Sysco have partnered with companies like Beyond Meat which makes plant-based burger patties.

Cargill, a company known for supplying meat around the world, is the latest to announce a move towards alternative protein. It “signed a joint venture agreement to accelerate a new wave of great tasting, sustainable and label-friendly plant-based foods” with pea company PURIS.

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Leonardo DiCaprio Backs This Plant-Based Meat Company

Earlier this month, Foodable reported on how two plant-based meat start-ups, Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, are faring in the race to be first to market. Now, let’s talk about brand recognition.

It looks like the Los Angeles-based brand, Beyond Meat, got a boost from Hollywood actor and passionate environmentalist, Leonardo DiCaprio. The Academy Award winner has invested in the meatless company.

"Livestock production is a major contributor to carbon emissions. Shifting from animal meat to the plant-based meats developed by Beyond Meat is one of the most powerful measures someone can take to reduce their impact on our climate," said DiCaprio in a statement.

Not only is the actor adding Beyond Meat to his ever-growing portfolio of environmental grants awarded through his foundation, but he is also becoming an advocate for the company’s mission.

"I am thrilled to officially welcome Leonardo DiCaprio to the Beyond Meat family," said Ethan Brown, CEO of Beyond Meat in a press release. "His investment and role as an advocate reflects a shared vision that meat made directly from plants, like our Beyond Burger, has enormous benefits for human health, the climate, natural resources, and animal welfare…”

DiCaprio’s financial backing and support could not have come at a better time for the company. Not only does this elevate Beyond Meat’s profile overall, but now, with its recent distribution deals, people are going to see a whole lot more of Beyond Burgers.

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Thanks to the many distribution points from recent partner, Sysco, the plant-based meat will be available at participating restaurants, schools, hospitals and other outlets.

It also expanded from Whole Foods Market to over 2,000 stores and landed in the meat case aisle at two of the country’s biggest grocery chains: Kroger and Albertsons.

Besides being sold at grocery stores across the country, the brand is available at the fast casual chains Veggie Grill and all BurgerFi stores. Most recently, it is also being offered at all eight stores of Chicago-based, better-burger brand Epic Burger.

“Leo is serious about climate change,” said Ethan Brown, CEO of Beyond Meat, to “Fortune.” “...this is not a celebrity deal. He is someone who genuinely believes in what we’re doing and wants to help grow it.”

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Beyond vs. Impossible: Which Meatless Burger Will Conquer the Industry?

It looks like those bleeding veggie burgers are becoming more accessible to the masses.

Earlier this year, Foodable reported on how companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are disrupting the meat industry by offering alternative protein to consumers like never before— by catering to both carnivores and flexitarians.

This October, Fatburger, the California hamburger fast casual brand, announced it will begin serving the Impossible Burger in Southern California.

“Fatburger pioneered the development of the ‘better burger’ industry,” said Fatburger CEO Andrew Wiederhorn, in a press release. “Now we're pioneering menu development with the Impossible Burger, and are excited to offer it to our customers.”

Meanwhile, Beyond Burger recently made a deal with Sysco, the largest food distributor to thousands of restaurants, schools, hospitals and other outlets.

While Impossible Foods also aims to supply its scientifically-engineered, heme-bleeding, meat-tasting, plant-based burger to high-end restaurants around the country, Beyond Meat earned a spot on the menu of casual dining chain TGI Friday’s, not to mention it is selling its alternative burger directly to consumers through select grocery stores.

"Similar to how we've partnered with conventional grocery stores to bring The Beyond Burger to the meat aisle where everyday consumers shop for protein, we are thrilled to be a part of Sysco's Cutting Edge Solutions program to bring The Beyond Burger to menus alongside beef at thousands of mainstream restaurants nationwide" said Ethan Brown, Beyond Meat’s CEO in a press release.

While Beyond Meat gets a boost in distribution, Impossible Foods’ founder and CEO, Patrick Brown, reveals his hopes to replace other foods besides just beef.

“We want to completely replace animals as a food production technology by 2035,” said Patrick Brown, who is also a Stanford biochemist, at a press briefing. “We are working on producing all foods that we get from animals.”

Can you imagine plant-based bacon, fish, or eggs that taste close to the real deal?

The news comes after the Impossible Foods opened its large-scale production facility in Oakland, Calif. earlier this year.

It is appropriate to mention, Beyond Meat has partnered-up with BurgerFi, a gourmet burger joint, to bring its plant-based patty to burger lovers visiting the chain’s many stores. This makes BurgerFi the first national fast casual brand to offer The Beyond Burger.


Whether people are eating more plant-based foods for health or ethical reasons, the trend is growing steadily. Although a world without meat seems far, far away in the future, it looks like this is the beginning of a world with plenty of more choices.

Sysco Acquires Rival US Foods for $3.5 Billion

Sysco Acquires Rival US Foods for $3.5 Billion

 

Breaking news this morning revealed that U.S. leading food distributor Sysco has acquired one of its top rivals, US Foods. The acquisition comes in the form of a $3.5 billion cash-and-stock deal today – $3 billion in stock and $500 million in cash.

What does this mean for the restaurant landscape and operators? Anytime you have a centralized supply source, even though some people may argue it will reduce costs, it will be interesting to see whether the shift of the restaurant landscape in 2013 may prove that price is not the issue. Modern food caters toward transparency, customizationlocalization and sustainability. Our society has become more tuned in to the food scene because of its approachability and transparent knowledge of things like value, quality and ambiance (thanks to food-related shows, a heavier stress on branding, and social media).

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