Beyond Meat sure has been making waves in the food space in the last few years. After a great deal of success with their meaty Beast Burger, beefy crumbles, and “chicken” strips, the company decided earlier this year to debut a product like no one has ever seen in supermarkets: a ready-to-cook “raw” burger that resembles a fresh beef patty but is made using only plants. Oh, and it’s sold in the meat counter right alongside beef, poultry, pork, and lamb.
Many people were unsure as to how the public would react to seeing a plant-based product right next to meat, but Beyond Meat’s founder, Ethan Brown, was so confident about his product that he wanted the Beyond Burger to break past the veggie burger section in the frozen aisle and be sold next to traditional meat. And he was right! Not only did the Beyond Burger sell out in multiple Whole Foods locations within a few hours, but it turned out that the majority of the customers who purchased it were meat-eaters. The product has been such a success, in fact, that Beyond Meat will be expanding to even more stores on the East Coast. At a launch event held in New York City on October 13th, Brown announced that the burger is now available in even more Whole Foods, specifically Brooklyn – Williamsburg and Park Slope – and Philadelphia!
That’s right, Green Monsters. If you live on the East Coast and haven’t been able to get it at the Whole Foods in Colorado, Kansas, Utah, New Mexico, and Idaho, this expansion may just be your chance to get your hands on this meaty creation! In addition to being hailed as a “game changer” for its incredibly meat-like taste and texture, the Beyond Burger is also much better for the environment. At current rates, the livestock system covers over 50 percent of the world’s land and uses a majority of freshwater supplies and is the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions. Given that the average person in the developed world consumes two-thirds more protein (largely from animal sources) than is recommended, the demand for meat is absurdly high and extremely unsustainable. Thankfully, products like the Beyond Burger, which are made of plant proteins, can provide all the benefits of taste and texture that come with meat while having a minimal negative impact on the planet.
Brown and his team are always striving for more, as well. Recently, the company welcomed Tyson Foods, the world’s largest meat processor, as an investor. Brown also shared at the event that he has set up a scientific center in El Segundo, California where some of “the brightest scientists” are constantly working on trying to improve the Beyond Burger and further bridge the gap between plant-based protein and meat. “You can put a piece of [animal muscle] under an MRI and you can see where the fat is, you can see where the water is, you can see where the protein is…and we look at the materials we’re pulling from plants, and we organize them in the exact same structure.” Brown admits that he and his team are “not quite there yet” but that they are working diligently to produce a product that will match meat in every possible way. Brown also mentioned they have plans to create a plant-based bacon product in the near future. Judging by their other products, we can assume that this one should deliver something to satisfy the bacon-obsessed droves.
Brown and his team did not release exact dates for the East Coast Whole Foods roll out, but considering they said it would be in “Fall 2016,” we’ll be keeping our eyes peeled! While the Beyond Burger will obviously be a wonderful option for those already seeking to leave meat out of their daily diet, a focus must be put on those not yet convinced to #EatForthePlanet and embrace the newest plant-based creations if we’re ever going to transform the infrastructure of the food system. What better way to do that then to sell it nationwide at the meat counter of one of the most popular supermarket chains? We wait excitedly for its arrival everywhere!