Tyson CEO Tom Hayes explained his position on animal-free meat in a recent interview with Bloomberg. “If we can grow meat without an animal,” Hayes said, “why wouldn’t we?” While Tyson is still the largest producer of animal meat in the world, Hayes is looking to transition the company to focus solely on protein, be it from animal, plant, or clean-meat sources. Shortly after stepping in as Tyson’s CEO, Hayes established Tyson New Ventures (TNV), a $150 million investment division of the company dedicated to funding plant-based and clean-meat brands. In 2016, TNV invested an undisclosed amount in Beyond Meat for a five percent stake of the vegan brand, followed by an investment in clean-meat startup Memphis Meats in January. In May, TNV co-led a $2.2 million investment round in another clean-meat startup, Israel-based Future Meat Technologies, to help the brand bring its slaughter-free meat to market in coming years. “We’re so big that the industry can’t change if we don’t lead,” Hayes said. This year, Tyson plans to launch vegan bowls under its new plant-based snack brand, Green Street.
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