The plant-based protein market has gained further advocacy after Hollywood bigwig and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio became an investor in Beyond Meat.
This is the latest milestone for the US plant-based protein brand which last year saw Tyson Foods take out a 5% stake.
It’s also indicative of the wider shift at play in the industry, with investors throwing big money behind alterative protein companies.
For example, Bill Gates invested in the Impossible Burger – the self-styled plant “burger that bleeds”.
“I am thrilled to officially welcome Leonardo DiCaprio to the Beyond Meat family,” said Ethan Brown, CEO of Beyond Meat.
“His investment and role as an advocate reflects a shared vision that meat made directly from plants, like our Beyond Burger, has enormous benefits for human health, the climate, natural resources, and animal welfare.
“Leo was helpful early on in providing feedback on our burgers as we readied them for launch, and I look forward to continuing to collaborate as we bring delicious, satiating products to a rapidly increasing consumer base.”
DiCaprio added: “Livestock production is a major contributor to carbon emissions. Shifting from animal meat to the plant-based meats developed by Beyond Meat is one of the most powerful measures someone can take to reduce their impact on our climate.”
The actor and activist will help Beyond Meat in its mission to become a “leading plant-based solution” to the growing appetite for alterative protein.
This summer, the company’s flagship Beyond Burger bolstered its distribution by sevenfold, expanding to 2,000+ stores and landing the revolutionary product in the meat case at the country’s two biggest grocery chains, Kroger and Albertsons Companies.
To meet the swelling mainstream consumer demand for plant-based options, The Beyond Burger launched in over 600 Kroger-owned stores spanning 15 states and four of Kroger’s key banners – Fred Meyer, King Sooper, Kroger and Ralphs.
Since launching to sell-out demand at Whole Foods in May 2016, the Beyond Burger has continued to gain mainstream momentum in meat cases across the US.