“There are 7.3 billion people in this world and that number is projected to jump to 9.7 billion by 2050,” noted TechCrunch. “How are we going to feed all these people? That’s a question a lot of smart folks are starting to ask.”
Brown delved into “the problem” his company is trying to solve. “Human health. Heart disease, diabetes, cancer. Climate Change, natural resource use — things like how much water we use — and then animal welfare,” Brown told TechCrunch. “If you make a choice to put plant-based as a source of meat at the center of the plate, you can affect all those positively.”
“We start at the same place that animal protein starts, and that’s in the field. So, we’re basically planting legumes, and separating the protein from the fiber, apply heating, cooling, and pressure to the protein. And that restitches the protein in the form of muscle,” added Brown.
Beyond Meat’s “final goal” is to “perfectly replicate animal protein, but do it with plants.” The CEO mentioned the company is focused on continually improving its products, especially regarding the texture. “When you bite into a piece of meat, you know what it is when you have it… It’s a very intimate thing and that texture has to be exactly right,” explained Brown. “[T]o be honest, we’re really close. We’re not exactly there yet, right? And so we have some room we have to go but I don’t see any material obstacle to getting there.”
Despite some qualms about the way in which the Beyond Sausage is produced — via processing — Brown explained the company is very careful to only use ingredients people can understand, such as beetroot and purple carrot for its reddish color, rather than artificial colorants that the World Health Organization has advised against consuming.
The Beyond Sausage is served at restaurants and stadiums throughout the nation and recently launched at all Whole Foods stores across the U.S. The first restaurant in San Francisco to stock the sausage, Rosamunde Sausage Grill, was also where the video was filmed. Josh Margolis, the owner at Rosamunde, told TechCrunch: “[W]e’ve sold out [of the Beyond Sausage], we’re getting more in today… I guess it tells us me that people have been waiting for this product to come out.”
Even Tyson Foods, the leading U.S. meat producer, has invested in Beyond Meat. While the move was controversial, Brown commented that “it was the right thing to do.” He said, “I think they [Tyson Foods] got a lot of flack from their shareholder base and we got a lot of flack from our consumers.” However, Brown pointed out that Tyson Foods touches two out of five plates in the United States.
“I hope we can impact that; that’s a pretty big thing.”
Image Credit: Beyond Meat