Whole Foods CEO Warns Of Fake Meat Health Risks

An Impossible Burger given out during a promotional event at a food truck in San Francisco. Dllu, CC BY-SA 4.0

Plant-based meat boom may be good for the environment but not for your health: Whole Foods CEO 

Jade Scipioni, Aug 21 2019

CNBC – There are currently two main, buzzy players in the plant-based “meat” market: Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods.

In 2013, Whole Foods gave plant-based meat start-up Beyond Meat its first shot at selling its vegan “chicken” strips at Whole Foods locations across the country.

Early believers and investors in the product were billionaires Bill Gates and Twitter co-founder Biz Stone.

Beef-free “burger” features pea, mung bean and rice proteins.

“We launched Beyond Meat. We were their launching pad. In fact, I think all of their new products have been introduced at Whole Foods,” John Mackey, co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods, tells CNBC Make It.

A year later, Beyond Meat developed its first “beef” product made from plant proteins, which later morphed into its now-famous Beyond Burger in 2016. (The company has since made recipe updates to its original beef patties. In June, Beyond Meat announced its new recipe uses a “blend of pea, mung bean and rice proteins.” )

That same year, another plant-based meat start-up, Impossible Foods, released its alternative to the beef burger made from soy protein concentrate to restaurants. Momofuku Nishi in New York City began serving the Impossible Burger in July 2016.

The company is also backed by Bill Gates.

Today, both Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods have exploded.

In May, Beyond Meat had the best IPO so far in 2019 surging more than 163% on the day of its market debut, in addition to making big deals with Carl’s Jr., Dunkin, Del Taco and TGI Friday’s to name a few.

And Impossible Foods products are now in about 10,000 restaurants — including White Castle, Red Robin, and Burger King — with plans to launch in grocery stores in September.

The market for meat substitutes is expected to hit $2.5 billion by 2023, according to Euromonitor estimates.

But Mackey, who has been a vegan for more than 20 years, isn’t sold on the health benefits of plant-based meats … Read more.