In fact, the company behind the food – which has received financial backing from the founders of Twitter and Silicon Valley venture capitalists KPCB – expects it to change the way we think about “meat” entirely.
“Our goal is to see that category redefined,” says Beyond Meat founder Ethan Brown. “Instead of having it be called ‘meat’ it would be just be called ‘protein’ – whether it’s protein coming from a cow or a chicken or from soy, pea, quinoa or other plant-based sources.”
Biz Stone, one of the founders of Twitter along with Evan Williams, both of whom are backing Beyond Meat, has spoken about his faith in the product’s ability to win over committed omnivores.
“My first reaction was, if I was given this in a restaurant, I’d get the waiter to come over and ask if he’d accidentally given us real chicken,” says Stone, who is a vegan. “It has a plumpness to it, what they call a ‘mouthfeel,’ like a kind of fattiness. When you eat other leading meat analogues, they’re delicious, but you kind of know they’re not real. They’re missing something that’s hard to identify. This has a very realistic, meaty, delicious quality.”
Beyond Meat is currently available in prepared products sold by Whole Foods stores in northern California and in selected stores in Maryland, San Francisco and Washington DC, but the company expects to be increasing production in coming years.
Its chicken strips will be available in more supermarkets later this year, across the US by 2013 and internationally at some point after that. Beyond Meat beef is also in the offing.