Academy-award-winning actor and outspoken environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio has signed on as an investor with the southern California plant-based meat producer, Beyond Meat.
The hot startup has been in the spotlight with its “bleeding” burger that cooks and tastes like meat with virtually the same nutritional profile as beef, but without the cholesterol, antibiotics, GMOs, and foodborne illness risks.
“Livestock production is a major contributor to carbon emissions,” DiCaprio said in a statement. “Shifting from animal meat to the plant-based meats developed by Beyond Meat is one of the most powerful measures someone can take to reduce their impact on our climate.”
Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown reinforced DiCaprio’s commitment. “Leo is serious about climate change,” he told Fortune. “He’s a really good ally for us,” Brown said, noting that “this is not a celebrity deal. He is someone who genuinely believes in what we’re doing and wants to help grow it.”
Since launching its meaty-like Beyond Burger last year, Beyond Meat’s distribution has skyrocketed, with placement in major conventional U.S. supermarkets like Kroger and Albertson’s, as well as in a growing number of restaurant chains including TGI Friday’s and Veggie Grill. In recent years Beyond Meat has also received funding from Bill Gates, Twitter co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams, as well as Tyson Foods, the leading producer of animal products in the U.S.
DiCaprio has invested in numerous campaigns to combat climate change, contributing more than $20 million to help bring awareness and action. He recently invested in the plant-based snack startup, HIPPEAS, which turns chickpeas into crunchy puffed snacks, and also invested in LoveTheWild, a seafood company working to ensure protected oceans.
The star also released a documentary focused on climate change, 2016’s “Before the Flood.”
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