Alternative protein company Beyond Meats hopes to raise more than US$184 million through an initial public offering in May, which would value the company—one of the pioneers in the emerging alternative protein sector—at US$1 billion.
The California-based company, which launched in 2009 to develop plant-based alternatives to mainstream meat products, including hamburgers and sausages, has attracted investments from high-profile individuals and venture capital firms, including Twitter co-founder Ev Williams’ Obvious Ventures, along with Bill Gates and Leonardo Dicaprio.
The company’s plant-based meat substitutes, which are engineered to closely simulate the taste and texture of meat, have proven popular amongst consumers who are conscious of the health and environmental impacts of the livestock sector. Livestock production is responsible for 14.5 per cent of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions, and a quarter of all cultivatable land on the planet is given over for grazing and feed production.
In a letter that accompanied Beyond Meats’ SEC prospectus, the company’s CEO Ethan Brown said that customers no longer face a binary decision between eating or eschewing meat.
“There is a path forward that I believe will unlock a new era of productivity for farmers, one capable of exceeding the gains made in the 20th century. It requires a change in perception, coupled with the use of science and technology,” he said. “If we insist meat be defined by origin—namely poultry, pigs and cows—we face limited choices. But if we define meat by composition and structure—amino acids, lipids, trace minerals, vitamins, and water woven together in the familiar assembly of muscle, or meat—we can innovate toward a solution.”
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