2014 Conscious Eating Conference: Session #6: Going Beyond Meat
Speaker: Ethan Brown, CEO and Co-Founder of Beyond Meat
Ethan Brown, is the CEO and co-founder of Beyond Meat, a plant-based replacement for animal protein.
Brown’s new company, Beyond Meat, produces products that replace animal protein with plant protein. Long time vegan, he co-founded the company because he was driven to improve human health, reduce climate change, and reduce the suffering and harm done to animals in “staggering numbers.” Brown contends, “there’s no difference between animals that are my pets and farm animals. It’s not OK to be harming another creature that feels so much pain. We have set up elaborate frameworks to justify eating meat and treating animals unjustly for it.” He furthered that it’s the disassociation we have from farm animals and their suffering that allows us to eat meat.
Real meat, he says, is basically amino acids, fats, carbohydrates, lipids, trace minerals and water. Real meat is also made from 100 percent plant protein that animals consume. Knowing this, along with doing extensive scientific and nutrition research, Brown and his partner, went to work creating meat directly from plant sources—changing where meat is coming from and “taking the animal completely out of the equation.”
He launched Beyond Meat in Whole Foods in February 2014. About the product Brown says, “It’s the cleanest source of protein for the body, with all the protein and half the fat, and all from plants,” and questioned why would anyone want to eat animal meat now? He said with almost 7 billion animals being slaughtered worldwide for food, and every single one of them having the capacity for companionship, and feeling pain and suffering—that our eating animals “is a terrible mistake.”
Brown reports that animal protein is linked to three of the top 10 diseases killing us today—heart disease, cancer and obesity. And livestock produce roughly 18 percent of all greenhouse gases and carbon dioxide leading to climate change (Goodwin). Furthermore, an increasing amount of land is being lost to livestock grazing, destroying precious rainforests, species, wildlife, natural resources and natural habitats. Brown pointed out the huge rise in meat consumption today in China, a result of U.S. corporations exporting U.S. fast food chains to China and other Asian countries. He mentioned the acquisition of Smithfield Foods, the largest pork producer in the world, by Shuanghui—a Chinese company in 2013, and how pork has now become the most popular meat in China.
Brown noted Beyond Meat’s 25/20 vision and campaign to reduce animal protein consumption by 25 percent by the year 2020 across the globe, in an effort to improve animal welfare and reduce animal suffering, improve human health, protect the environment, and preserve conservation of natural resources.
Speaker: Ethan Brown
Conference: 2014 Conscious Eating Conference
Date: April 2014
Place: David Brower Center, Berkeley, CA