Largest Meat Producer in the U.S. Invests in Clean Meat Startup

Largest Meat Producer in the U.S. Invests in Clean Meat Startup
image via Memphis Meats/Instagram

Tyson Foods, the nation’s largest meat producer, has invested in Bay Area clean meat startup, Memphis Meats.

The company follows fellow meat producer Cargill’s investment into the company. BIllionaires Bill Gates and Richard Branson have also invested in Memphis Meats.

Tyson earned praises several years ago when it invested in the Southern California plant-based meat startup, Beyond Meat.

“We’re excited about this opportunity to broaden our exposure to innovative, new ways of producing meat, especially since global protein demand has been increasing at a steady rate,” Justin Whitmore, Executive Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Chief Sustainability Officer of Tyson Foods, said in a statement.

Memphis Meats uses a technology often called cellular agriculture to produce meat without the need of raising and slaughtering animals — a small sample is collected from an animal source (like a chicken feather) and then that cell is “grown” in vats, much in the same way fermented foods are produced. By “feeding” the cells nutrients, the meat muscle develops but without the human health or environmental risks or animal suffering inherent to raising livestock.

“No company in the world is better positioned to take clean meat global than Tyson. We are impressed but not at all surprised that the company sees Memphis Meats as a great partner for the Tyson brand,” said Alison Rabschnuk, Director of Corporate Engagement at the Good Food Institute.

“With the backing of Tyson, clean meat will be able to come to market more quickly and at closer price parity with conventional meat. We applaud Tyson for being one of the first-movers in this space and expect more companies to get involved as they begin to understand it’s not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when.’”

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Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a Los Angeles-based journalist and editor focused on the global food system and how it intersects with our cultural traditions, diet preferences, health, and politics. She is the senior editor for sister websites and, and works as a research associate and editor with the Cornucopia Institute, the organic industry watchdog group. Jill has been featured in The Huffington Post, MTV, Reality Sandwich, and Eat Drink Better.