Former McDonald’s CEO invests in Plant-Based Burgers

This week Tyson Foods announced that it made a follow-on investment into Beyond Meat, increasing 5 % ownership stake it established year ago. This was part of the latest fundraising round for the California-based Beyond Meat, which makes burgers designed to taste like a cow but actually, they are plant-based burgers.

‘We see Beyond Meat as a strategic and compelling consumer-focused investment. Customer response to Beyond Meat’s great-tasting products has driven its growth. We’re excited about our investment as the brand continues to innovate for the future.’ said Don Thompson, former McDonald’s CEO.

More and more investment in Plant-Based Burgers   

Additional capital of $55 million is the latest fundraising round secured for Beyond Meat. The round was led by venture capital fund Cleveland Avenue, founded by Don Thompson who joined the Beyond Meat board back in ’15. Thanks to growing awareness that meat is not the best protein source and is not healthy, $90 million raised in previous rounds invested by other notable investors such as Bill Gates, actor Leonardo DiCaprio and Twitter co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams.

Beyond Meat will use the funds to triple the size of its production. The company’s burgers are currently sold in more than 5,000 stores, including Whole Foods, Kroger and Albertsons. It has also been added to menus at nearly 4,000 restaurants, hotels and college dining halls. Next month, Beyond Meat plans to enter all TGI Fridays restaurants. This will integrate the vegan patty into their Burger Bar.

Due to growing concerns about animal welfare and the environmental impact of intensive factory farming traditional meat sales have been facing competition. Health concerns are a huge factor too. And it’s not just Beyond Meat. Companies like MorningStar Farms are driving the animal-free market deeper into our food system by leveraging the network of its parent company Kellogg.

In 2016 U.S. retail-store sales of products using meat substitutes climbed 16% to $700 million. They estimate that meat substitutes, including frozen, refrigerated and shelf-stable products, will reach $863 million in annual U.S. sales by 2021. Although, this still pales in comparison to traditional meat sales and they have a long way to go before they’re competing on a global scale. However, taking into count how fast plant-based industry is growing, this might happen a lot soon than anyone could have predicted.