“One day, in the most scientific of tests, we blindfolded an electrician in our first facility. We prepared and gave him a piece of our chicken, and a piece of Perdue grilled strips. He identified ours as the real chicken. We were ready to bring a first iteration forward,” said Ethan Brown, founder of Beyond Meat.
In an interview with Brown, we discussed the founding of his company, which set out several years ago to answer this critical question: how will the world change for the better if we can perfectly replicate animal protein with plant protein, removing the animal from the process of creating meat? If achieved, Beyond Meat—at scale—would drastically turn the tide on climate change, natural resource depletion, and disease epidemics.
This is his story.
Rahim Kanani: Tell me a little bit about the founding of Beyond Meat. Where did the idea come from?
Ethan Brown: As a child, like many children, I had difficulty understanding the difference in consideration given to factory farmed animals and pets. I was aware of superficial distinctions between, say, a pig and dog—for example, skin pigment and snout size. What I couldn’t find was…