Andreessen Horowitz is one of the best-known names in venture capital. Typically, the firm sets its sights on “software that eats the world.”
But in its most recent a16z podcast, the iconic firm flipped the script to investigate what the world is eating, and how some of the brightest minds in food are reimaging a new future.
Memphis Meats CEO Uma Valeti, Impossible Foods COO David Lee, and The Good Food Institute’s executive director Bruce Friedrich all sat down for an episode titled “Old Food, New Tech – Clean Meat.”
Here’s the crux: We need to feed 9.7 billion people by 2050. Additionally, as Bruce notes in the first few minutes of the podcast, it’s scientifically impossible for the world to keep climate change contained below 2 degrees Celsius by 2050 unless meat consumption decreases dramatically. Currently, meat eating is on the rise.
So what will it take to turn one of the world’s oldest food production traditions—animal agriculture—into an entirely new one? Memphis Meats and Impossible Foods represent two of the most promising companies tackling that very issue.
Memphis Meats is looking to clean meat, which is grown outside of an animal in cell culture, instead of inside an (inefficient) animal on a polluting factory farm.
Dr. Valeti explains:
As we start thinking about 10 years out and 20 years out, I think it’s going to be unimaginable that we were okay with enslaving billions of animals and doing food production despite the harm it was having to human health, the environment, and the economic inefficiencies.
Impossible Foods, on the other hand, is turning plants directly into meat, bypassing the cow, chicken, or pig in the process. Lee says:
The biggest difference is that our approach as a company is not to appeal to the vegetarian or those who are conscious of the environmental impact of meat. Our product is made for the love of meat.Food is unique, it is fundamentally emotional. You can’t browbeat consumers to do what is the ‘rational, correct’ thing. You’ve got to make people crave your product. First, the product has to deliver on taste. it’s that simple. Nail credibility on taste, and then all of the rational benefits follow.
At GFI, we firmly believe that these two market-based approaches have the power to make factory farming obsolete.
As Bruce says at the end of the episode,
One of the things I’ve been most excited about is seeing how all of the plant-based companies and the clean meat companies are working together, because they recognize that right now they are creating a market sector, and a rising tides lifts all boats.
To learn more about how GFI helps innovative food companies reach their potential, visit our website. And to listen to the full podcast episode click here.
visit cleanmeat.org for info on the who, what, and why of clean meat.