Saving the Planet with Plants (investors include Branson, Gates, Nestlé and more)

  • Last week, Beyond Meat, a producer of plant-based meat alternatives said its Beyond Burger was available in over 3,000 grocery stores in the U.S. and on Sept. 13, CEO Ethan Brown announced the company was working with Sysco “to bring The Beyond Burger to menus alongside beef at thousands of mainstream restaurants nationwide.”
  • Notes: 1) Investors include Bill Gates, Twitter co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams, Kleiner Perkins, former McDonald's CEO Don ThompsonHonest Tea founder Seth GoldmanHumane Society of the United States, and Tyson Foods 2) its products are distributed to Whole Foods MarketSafeway, burger chain BurgerFi, movie theater chain Alamo Drafthouse, on-campus at Yale University, Hong Kong’s vegan grocery chain Green Common and more. 
  • On Sep 7, 2017, Nestlé USA Chairman and CEO Paul Grimwood, said “In the United States, we’re experiencing a consumer shift toward plant-based proteins. In fact, as many as 50% of consumers now are seeking more plant-based foods in their diet and 40% are open to reducing their traditional meat consumption, One of Nestlé’s strategic priorities is to build out our portfolio of vegetarian and flexitarian choices in line with modern health trends. With unique and nutritious food for all times of the day, Sweet Earth gives Nestlé a leading position in this emerging space.” 
  • Note: The acquisition of Sweet Earth provides Nestlé access to a 48 plant-based product lines and a 40,000-square-foot facility in Moss Landing, CA. 
  • On August 24, 2017, Virgin Group Founder Richard Branson said in a blog post “There are many issues that impact upon climate change, but few as negatively as livestock. It’s estimated that livestock produces 18 per cent of all "man-made" greenhouse gas emissions – making it a bigger contributor to global warming and environmental degradation than all forms of transportation. Realizing the folly of the world’s conventional meat consumption, I was compelled to give up beef a few years ago. The main reason for my decision was rainforest degradation, and my eyes were also open to farming and slaughterhouse practises. I quickly found that I didn’t miss beef at all – there are so many alternatives that it didn’t really affect my meal habits ...  
  • "I’m thrilled to announce that I have invested in Memphis Meats. A clear leader in the clean meat space, Memphis Meats are developing a way to produce real meat from animal cells, without the need to feed, breed and slaughter actual animals"
  • Note: Other investors include DFJCargill and Bill Gates.
  • On May 25, 2017, Impossible Foods’ “2017 Sustainability Report” said, “Americans consume about 10 billion pounds of ground beef per year. The average American eats three hamburgers every week— nearly 50 billion burgers per year and about half of this is consumed in restaurants. In order to supply this much meat, around three quarters of all agricultural land in the U.S. is devoted to cattle and the crops they eat. Impossible Burger uses vastly less land, water, and energy than a burger made from cows.”
  • Notes: 1) The company recently opened a production facility in East Oakland, CA with the capacity to produce 1 million pounds of plant-based meat per month and 2) it investors include Google Ventures, Khosla VenturesViking Global InvestorsUBSHong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing's Horizons Ventures and Bill Gates.



  • The potential for meat alternatives to address environmental issues while providing healthy alternativesseems like great news and could lead to a significant socio-economic mega-trends.
  • To expand the market opportunity, the pricing of alternatives will have to become more cost competitive with the traditional meat market - a dynamic which will likely be addressed as the industry scales up.
  • As the alternative food market grows, market participants will likely encounter intellectual property challenges and increased regulatory scrutiny.
Paul Dravis