Twitter co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone have a proven track record in gauging trends in popular culture. As founders of one of the largest social media networks in the world, it’s no surprise they turn heads when they make an investment in what many would consider to be a countercultural start-up. Last week, the two announced that they are investing in Beyond Meat, a vegan meat company that many herbivores say makes the most believable “fake meat” products they’ve ever taste.
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Even the most devout vegans and vegetarians have to admit that today’s meat substitutes are no substitute for the real thing. Some of them are tasty, but none actually have the same taste and texture of a piece of chicken, a burger, or a steak. They’re not fooling anyone. That’s why most people in meat-loving countries like the U.S. haven’t traded in their steak for Tofurky, even when they have health problems that should compel them to do so, and even when they realize that livestock are responsible for approximately 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions.
“These guys are coming at the meat analogue industry not as a novelty kind of thing or hippy dippy,” says Stone.”They were coming at it from this big science, super practical, scalable angle. They were saying, ‘We want to get into the multi-billion-dollar meat industry with a plant-based meat.’” When it came time for Beyond Meat to raise a round of funding, the guys jumped at the chance.
Beyond Meat founder Ethan Brown has a background in clean energy, but realized at a certain point that the energy sector could only be a part of solving the climate change problem. “What fascinated me that we’d be sitting around in these alternative energy conferences, these big hotels with fancy speakers, and at the end of the day you’d sit down and have steak,” he says. “There’s a misallocation of focus. People haven’t focused on this area. So many greenhouse gas emissions are because of livestock.”
What do you think? Smart investment?