Tyson Invests in Vegan Company

Meat giant is the first to move toward plant-based alternatives.

The world’s largest meat producer, Tyson Foods, paid an undisclosed sum to vegan company Beyond Meat for five percent of its company. Tyson senior vice president in charge of strategy Monica McGurk marveled at the quality of the Beyond Burger—a newly released plant-based burger which Beyond Meat insisted be sold alongside meat products, including those from Tyson, earlier this year. “We think it’s a game-changing product that gives us exposure to this fast-growing part of the food business,” McGurk said. Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown explains the investment will be a jumpstart to move vegan protein from “the penalty box” of meat alternatives into “the mainstream.” Under the Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return Initiative, a group of investors—with holdings worth more than $1 trillion—recently pressured meat companies (including Tyson) to reduce their meat output in an effort to address the effect of animal agriculture on the environment. While this historic move marks the first time a meat company invested in a vegan competitor, other large corporations including General Mills and Danone have each staked their claims in companies (vegan cheesemaker Kite Hill and parent company to several dairy-alternative brands WhiteWave Foods, respectively) that have found success in replacing animal products with plants.

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