Tyson Foods — one of the world’s largest meat producers — believes that plant-based protein is a huge opportunity for his industry.
In an interview with Fox Business, Tyson CEO Tom Hayes said he sees a growing demand for meatless protein.
“If you take a look at the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation) stats, protein consumption is growing around the world — and it continues to grow,” Hayes said
. “It’s not just hot in the US; it’s hot everywhere, people want protein, so whether it’s animal-based protein or plant-based protein, they have an appetite for it. Plant-based protein is growing almost, at this point, a little faster than animal-based, so I think the migration may continue in that direction.”
In October 2016, the company bought a 5% stake in Beyond Meat, a Silicon Valley startup that makes plant-based beef and chicken primarily from pea protein (no real meat is involved). After former Tyson CEO Donnie Smith left in December 2016, Hayes took over, and the company launched a venture capital fund worth $US150 million that invests in startups developing meat alternatives. In February, Tyson also said it will remove antibiotics from the majority of the its products by the fall of 2017.