The last few weeks have seen meatless eating go more mainstream than ever — and we’re loving it!
Panera announces its opting into more veg-friendly choices, Guinness is discontinuing the use of fish bladders in its beer-making process, and now this: former McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson has joined forces with a vegan company.
Beyond Meat, a California-based start-up that’s been changing the face of the meat industry with plant-based beef and chicken products, has a new board member: a former McDonald’s executive. Don Thompson stepped down as head of McDonald’s Corp. in March after nearly 25 years with the golden arches, reports the Associated Press.
Beyond Meat, along with Hampton Creek, Impossible Foods, and other similarly innovative start-ups, is dedicated to re-creating animal products with plant-based ingredients like pea protein.
It’s no secret that McDonald’s is struggling, with declining sales and restaurant closures nationwide. Analysts attribute the company’s failure to its inability to adapt to changing consumer demands — like requests for healthier options and alternatives to meat, eggs and dairy. Other chains are stepping up and offering new options, from Subway’s black bean subs to Taco Bell’s vegetarian-certified menu. Even Starbucks has responded to COK’s campaign calling for vegan-friendly food options.
Interestingly enough, Thompson isn’t the first fast-food executive to switch sides. Brian Swette, a former chairman at Burger King, went on to start Sweet Earth Natural Foods, an all-vegetarian company.
“Knowing that health is one of the biggest challenges that face the country, I got this epiphany,” Swette told Upstart Business Journal last year. “We could make a difference if we actually made a vegetarian food company.” He admitted, “[I]ndustrial food is really a curse … I was kind of on the dark side of food.”
Clearly, the dark side is on its way out. The future is plant-based!