Tyson’s investment builds on the 5% share it acquired in Beyond Meat in October 2016, as the meat processor looks to tap into growth for alternative protein sources.
Wealthy philanthropists and celebrities including Bill Gates and Oscar-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio have already pumped millions of dollars into San Francisco-based start-up Beyond Meat.
The company manufactures and sells a range of plant-based burger patties made with pea protein, now available in over 5,000 grocery chains across the US. A further 3,700 restaurants, hotels and foodservice outlets nationwide also stock the revolutionary vegetarian ‘Beyond Burger’ that bleeds like beef.
Sustainable meat demand
While the cash sum Tyson invested this week has not been disclosed, the Arkansas meat giant said the capital injection would help Beyond Meat expand its product portfolio and distribution network.
“Global demand for all protein remains high and we’re passionate about meeting that demand sustainably,” said Justin Whitmore recently appointed chief sustainability officer at Tyson Foods.
“Our investment in Beyond Meat provides another fantastic alternative for consumers as we strive to sustainably feed the world.”
Whitmore added, “This investment reinforces our focus on protein and enables us to support Beyond Meat’s efforts to produce new, leading edge products. What we’re most excited about is that we can do all of this while continuing to provide the great tasting, high quality food that is the hallmark of our company.”
Why is the burger special?
The Beyond Burger is a vegetarian product that looks and tastes like beef, according to the company. Made without genetically modified organisms, soy or gluten, the burger has more protein and iron than traditional beef burgers, but less saturated fat. Crucially, no animals were killed to make it.