Tyson Invests in Clean-Meat Startup Memphis Meats

The meat company makes its second investment—following its investment in Beyond Meat—in alternatives to animal slaughter.


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California-based food technology startup Memphis Meats announced this week that Tyson Ventures (the investment arm of meat company Tyson Foods) has made an investment in the “clean meat” (also known as “cultured meat”) company for an undisclosed amount. Tyson Ventures also invested an undisclosed amount in vegan brand Beyond Meat last year. “We’re excited about this opportunity to broaden our exposure to innovative, new ways of producing meat,” Justin Whitmore, executive vice president of corporate strategy and chief sustainability officer of Tyson Foods, said, “especially since global protein demand has been increasing at a steady rate.” Memphis Meats—along with other companies such as SuperMeat, Finless Foods, Mosa Meat, and JUST (formerly Hampton Creek)—is working to create an alternative to animal slaughter by producing meat from a small amount of animal cells in a lab setting. “We are excited that Tyson Foods will be joining us in our mission to bring meat to the table in a sustainable, affordable, and delicious way,” Memphis Meats CEO Uma Valeti said. “Our vision is for the world to eat what it loves in a way that addresses today’s challenges for the environment, animal welfare, and public health. We are accelerating our work and building out a world-class team to make this a reality.” In August, Memphis Meats raised $17 million—from large firms and companies, including animal agriculture giant Cargill—making it the first clean-meat company to close a Series A funding round. The brand will use its new funding to accelerate product development—which Memphis Meats plans to debut to consumers by 2021. Alison Rabschnuk, director of corporate engagement at food-advocacy firm Good Food Institute, believes that investments from meat brands such as Tyson will help clean meat come to market more quickly and at a price comparable to its traditionally made counterpart. “We applaud Tyson for being one of the first-movers in this space,” Rabschnuk said, “and expect more companies to get involved as they begin to understand it’s not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when.’”

Photo courtesy of Memphis Meats