No stranger to investing in green businesses and organizations committed to creating a more sustainable future, actor Leonardo DiCaprio is putting his name and money behind plant-based meat company Beyond Meat.
DiCaprio, who joins an investor pool that includes Bill Gates and Richard Branson, applauded Beyond Meat for giving consumers a new choice in the fight to curb climate change.
"Livestock production is a major contributor to carbon emissions," the Oscar-winner 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."
According to Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown, DiCaprio has been involved in helping the company as a taste tester from the beginning.
"Leo was helpful early on in providing feedback on our burgers as we readied them for launch, and I look forward to continuing to collaborate as we bring delicious, satiating products to a rapidly increasing consumer base," he said.
While the size of DiCaprio's stake was not made public, his decision to become involved is not surprising. Since Beyond Meat's products became available in 2013, the public reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. Today, you can find Beyond Meat's "Beyond Burger," which is made from peas, in more than 2,500 grocery stores and restaurants nationwide.
As for the taste, foodies have been impressed over how quickly plant-based burgers have evolved from something noticeably fake to a delicious, almost-indistinguishable-from-the-real-thing breakthrough. In a recent review of the Impossible Burger, one of Beyond Meat's competitors, MNN staff writer Starre Vartan said it was unlike any veggie burger she's ever enjoyed before.
"The texture while chewing is spot-on," she wrote. "The flavor, for those who are used to a thick patty of good-quality beef, is much blander than the burgers I remember — there was no explosion of flavor from the bloodier portion in the middle of the burger. However, it was equivalent to a lower-quality burger 'like you would get at a diner' my partner said, but still 'better than a fast-food burger.'"
As for DiCaprio, having the opportunity to become involved with a company that can help reduce livestock production and increase innovation in plant-based foods is a win on every level.
"The company's ability to create appealing, healthy meat directly from plants will go a long way in helping every day consumers take action on climate change," he added.