Vegan Startup Gets Backed by Twitter Co-Founders

A new startup company aims to replicate the taste and feel of real meat with all vegan products. The company is called Beyond Meat, and it has recently been backed by two Twitter co-founders, Evan Williams and Biz Stone. Williams and Stone have their own business incubator called Obvious Corporation, owned with former Twitter VP of Product Jason Goldman. Stone has been a vegan for ten years, and this played into his decision to support Beyond Meat.

Typically Obvious Corporation has backed web-centric companies, but Beyond Meat had a different approach to vegan food that the Twitter co-founders identified with.

“These guys are coming at the meat analogue industry not as a novelty kind of thing or hippy dippy,” said Stone. “They were coming at it from this big science, super practical, scalable angle. They were saying, ‘We want to get into the multi-billion dollar meat industry with a plant-based meat.’”

Beyond Meat has already begun releasing vegan products, which have mixed reviews. Even mixed reviews are positive however for meat substitute, which often do not mimic the taste of or texture of meat very well. New York Time writer Mark Bittman reviewed Beyond Meat’s Veggie Chicken Strips back in March.

“The thick strands…didn’t precisely resemble chicken strips, and when I tasted them unadulterated I found it bland, unexciting and not very chicken-like. But not offensive, either, and as an ingredient we’d all be hard-pressed to distinguish it from most of the animal-based models.”

Beyond Meat products will also be priced more competitively than other meat-substitutes. Beyond Meat’s vegan competitors can charge $12 or more for a pound of their products, while beyond Meat’s products sell wholesale for less than the price of natural meat. Products are already available at Whole Foods locations in Northern California, and they will soon expand to the east coast as well.

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