Ethan Brown, Founder & CEO, Beyond Meat, shares the future of engineered plant proteins and meat. Brown is in conversation with Robert Capps, Deputy Editor, WIRED.
Ethan Brown founded Beyond Meat in 2009 to create new plant-based proteins that are virtually indistinguishable from animal products. As a child, Brown gained a deep appreciation for the natural world from his father, a professor, farmer, and conservationist. He began his career in the clean-energy industry and spent eight years at Ballard Power Systems, the world’s leading PEM fuel-cell company. Concerned about the impact of animal-based foods on climate change, he wondered if technology could be used to create better meat substitutes. After several years of collaboration with University of Missouri scientists, and with investment from The Obvious Corporation (cofounders of Twitter) and Silicon Valley VC firm Kleiner Perkins, Beyond Meat was born. The company’s high-protein Chicken-Free Strips are now sold nationwide. Beyond Meat was recently hailed by Bill Gates as one of three innovative companies reinventing the future of food.
Robert Capps is head of editorial at WIRED, where he oversees editorial content on all platforms, including the magazine, WIRED.com, and live events. In his 11-year career at WIRED he earned 12 National Magazine Award nominations, spearheaded the programing for business, health, and design live events, ran large multimedia projects, edited award-winning magazine features, and ran every part of the print publication. His 2009 article “Why Things Fail,” won the Gerald Loeb award for outstanding business writing, and his article “The Good Enough Revolution,” was noted by The New York Times as one of the best big ideas of the year, and was discussed in publications from The Economist to The New Yorker.