Target: Donnie Smith, CEO of Tyson Foods
Goal: Support humane alternatives to meat, and reduce meat production.
Tyson Foods, the largest meat supplier in the U.S., recently invested in a vegan startup. The meat giant now owns 5% of Beyond Meat, a veggie burger company known for its highly convincing plant-based proteins. This is the first time a big traditional meat producer has taken a stake in a vegan company, but it is only a first tiny step toward the type of industry-wide shift that Tyson should be helping to spearhead.
Michele Simon, executive director of the Plant Based Foods Association, warns that this could be little more than “a way of distracting attention from [Tyson’s] industrial meat business.” Although Tyson’s taking of the first step deserves recognition, we must also let Tyson know that the buck doesn’t stop here. Lux Research has predicted that plant-based proteins could account for a third of global protein consumption by 2050, which would mean huge drops in carbon emissions – but this happens only if meat operations are scaled back accordingly.
Tell Tyson that if they are truly committed to being part of the transition away from meat-based foods, they must do much more than own a 5% share in one vegan company.
Dear Mr. Smith,
I was glad to hear about your recent investment in Beyond Meat, a company that offers vegan alternatives to meat products. Plant-based proteins have a growing market, as I’m sure you are aware, and researchers predict that they could account for a third of total protein consumption worldwide by 2050. Gaining a stake in this market is certainly a wise business move, but I hope you recognize that it should only be a first step. Replacing meat with plant products means cutting down on carbon and methane emissions, as well as land use and water consumption. But these benefits only come if we do in fact replace meat – and this means scaling down meat operations.
Please do not stop at investing in Beyond Meat. Use your position as a leader in the food industry to help shift the consumer mindset. If you champion the transition from meat to plant-based alternatives, I will definitely support and applaud your efforts.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Unijewels