insights -- Feburary 2018 - 5

Tyson Foods announced in October 2016 that it
was investing an undisclosed amount for a 5% stake
in Beyond Meat. Tyson also launched a venture capital
fund worth $150 million to invest in startups focusing
on meat alternatives. It added a further investment in
Beyond Meat last December and more recently invested
an undisclosed amount in Memphis Meats.
Beyond Meat last year began selling the Beyond
Burger, a plant-protein burger sold fresh that sizzles
and oozes fats while cooking. Whole Foods Market
apparently finds it close enough to the real thing that the
supermarket chain has been selling the Beyond Burgers
next to the meat cases in its stores. Whole Foods began
selling Beyond Meat's Beyond Sausage in December.
Sales of meat alternatives in the U.S. in 2017 increased
more than 6% to $550 million from 2016, according to
industry estimates.

The U.S. beef sector has borne the brunt in recent years
of scrutiny and criticism of the sustainability of meat
production. This is largely because of its geographical
profile. Cattle producers operate on millions of acres
of private and public lands across the U.S. and feedlot
operations for finishing grain-fed cattle can be extremely
large and highly visible. Pork and poultry production is
much less visible. But both production systems, as well
as cattle feeding, have earned themselves the pejorative
of "factory farming," a label that the industry has found
difficult to counter and relentlessly derogatory.
The biggest charges leveled against beef production in
the U.S. and globally are the amount of greenhouse gases
it is responsible for and the amount of water it takes to
produce beef. A 2006 report, Livestock's Long Shadow,
released by the Food and Agriculture Organization
(FAO) of the United Nations, stated that "the livestock
sector is a major stressor on many ecosystems and on the
planet as a whole. Globally it is one of the largest sources
of greenhouse gases and one of the leading causal
factors in the loss of biodiversity, while in developed and
emerging countries it is perhaps the leading source of
water pollution."
More recently, the FAO estimated that global livestock
production (including poultry) accounts for about 14.5%
of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions estimated


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