Ethan Brown, CEO of Beyond Meat, discusses the evolution of herbal burgers, protein science, why her company avoids GMOs, and her mission to contribute to the creation of 39, a more sustainable food system.
Here is a slightly edited extract of penis editor-in-chief Nilay Patel and Brown just days from their product upgrade discuss Beyond Meat's continued efforts to have their meatless burgers taste more like meat in the last episode of The Vergecast.
Nilay Patel: So now, Beyond Burger is out. I've seen it at the grocery store a few weeks ago. You have a hamburger at Carl & # 39; s Junior. Do you have different processes for groceries compared to Carl's Junior compared to Del Taco?
Ethan Brown: Beyond meat, one of the most difficult jobs is production and operations. It's a challenge because we are not satisfied with our current products. And so, as much as I like to hear and do what you do, you know you went to buy the product. Part of me is falling back because I know I have a product here that is so much better than that. And I want you, as a consumer, to have that. And we have this program here called the Fast and Relentless Innovation Program Beyond Meat and it is designed to make the product you just buy obsolete as fast as possible because of our speed of understanding, it is a wonderful discovery process when you people together and give them a clear goal. They begin to understand things and they start to break down the obstacle. So, our current burger that we will be releasing later this summer is so much better than the one you just ate.
We are on this mission to build a perfect piece of meat and this product is flawed. There are things about it that do not exactly look like meat and really bother us.
Niley Patel: What are these things?
Ethan Brown: It's crazy for me to say that … I do not like the aroma as much as I should. It's close to animal protein in some ways. There are a lot of molecules that taste and smell that we are so used to. And what we do is that we literally isolate these meat molecules, and then we characterize them by trying to associate them with molecules and plants that will bring the same experience to our human system. We are getting closer but we do not reach the target yet. I think the one we have today and will be released this summer is closer.
Second, there's the way it's done in color. It's still too red when it's cooked. And consumers get used to it and they get it right. But the reason it bothers me is because people bring it home for the first time, they try to cook that color because that's what they did with animal protein . So we have to improve this color transition. We worked a lot on that.
Finally, the distribution of fat. I really want the fat to be distributed so that it does not build up. And we're still working on this distribution muscle in the pockets and it's sort of nested in a very nuanced way and gives you that burst of fat when you bite into a piece of metal protein. We must improve. And I think the product we are publishing is getting closer.
Nilay Patel: This leads to a more important philosophical question. You describe how to replace the meat. Make sure your cooking and dining expectations at Beyond Meat Burger are exactly the same as what you expect from a burger patty. Is this the right goal? Do people need hamburgers that are exactly like hamburgers of the past or do we need to change our diet?
Ethan Brown: My mother often asks me this question. She says to herself "Why are you so focused on the perfect replication of animal proteins?" Why do not you just create a new source of protein for people to be really excited? "I think we should deserve this right.We have to prove that we can do it because the only thing I know with absolute certainty about the consumer is that he loves meat." know most of us.About 94% of the population here in the US.And so it's a really clear target for me.If I start trying to create a new profile with a new consistency It's really difficult, and what I want to do is prove by science that you do not need the animal to produce a piece of meat and then I have a ton of freedom after that, but I feel that we have to go through it otherwise we become one of the many other choices.You know our hope and our dream is that we continue, as a species, to continue to love and to eat meat, maybe it's herbal meat, and if I propose it simply an alternative to something everyone loves, I think we're going to miss this opportunity.