Tyson Foods is now a minority shareholder in two of the meat industry’s most disruptive Silicon Valley start-ups: lab-grown meat outfit Memphis Meats and Beyond Meat.
San Francisco’s Memphis Meats said Tyson Foods had joined an “unprecedented coalition of investors backing clean meat”, which includes Cargill, Bill Gates, Richard Branson, international technology investment firm Atomico and venture capital company DFJ.
“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,” said Uma Valeti, co-founder and CEO of Memphis Meats.
“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.”
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Tyson Foods said its undisclosed investment was part of its “commitment to explore innovative new ways of meeting” global meat demand.
“We’re excited about this opportunity to broaden our exposure to innovative, new ways of producing meat, especially since global protein demand has been increasing at a steady rate,” said the company’s first-ever chief sustainability officer Justin Whitmore.
“We continue to invest significantly in our traditional meat business, but also believe in exploring additional opportunities for growth that give consumers more choices.”
The latest round of investment in Memphis Meats will be used to accelerate the company’s new product development and hire new staff.
Investor Heidi Roizen, a partner at DFJ, said: “Memphis Meats is a critically important company to the future of food, and their mission to produce meat in an innovative and sustainable way is incredibly compelling to us as both investors and as lovers of animals. We are delighted to be a part of their amazing journey.”