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Why the Twitter cofounders predict we may all stop eating meat soon

Why the Twitter cofounders predict we may all stop eating meat soon

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Evan Williams and Biz Stone have invested in a startup that promises fake meat which beats the taste, cost, nutrition, and environmental impact of the real deal.

If fake meat tasted just as good as the real thing, would you be more likely to eat it? That's a bet Twitter cofounders Evan Williams and Biz Stone have put money on, Co.Exist Reports.

Their company Obvious Corporation, which they founded alongside former Twitter VP of Product Jason Goldman, has invested in a new fake meat startup. Beyond Meat's products reportedly have of the texture and taste of real meat, are healthier for you, and should eventually cost less than meat from industrial farming.

Co.Exist's Ariel Schwartz reports:

"These guys are coming at the meat analogue industry not as a novelty kind of thing or hippy dippy," says Stone."They were coming at it from this big science, super practical, scalable angle. They were saying, 'We want to get into the multi-billion-dollar meat industry with a plant-based meat.'"

The Obvious Corporation got in on Beyond Meat during the startup's first round of funding. They're hoping that pseudo meat produced efficiently on a large scale could significantly improve world health and the environment.

Beyond Meat founder Ethan Brown sees vegan meat as an analog to green energy. He says nearly 18% of greenhouse gas emissions come from the livestock industry.

The company's first product, "chicken strips," debuted at 35 California Whole Foods stores this week.

For the time being the chicken strips are largely based on soy, a product under increasing scrutiny for possible health risks and high impact agricultural practices. But Beyond Meat hopes to move past that soon.  "We want to expand the use of alternatives and the number of alternative proteins available," the startup's founder tells Schwartz. "Instead of just relying on soy, we want to use lupin, mustard seed protein, and barley to give consumers a broad range of plant-based proteins."

Beyond Meat will enter East Coast Whole Foods soon. As of now its wholesale cost is lower than natural meat, but still higher than factory-farmed meat. If the company can pass that hurdle, and deliver fake meat that's really as tasty as advertised, we could see a significant change in American diets in the near future.

Photo: Beyond Meat

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Audrey Quinn

Contributing Writer

Audrey Quinn is a Brooklyn-based multimedia journalist focused on health, tech and the economy. Her radio stories can be heard on Marketplace, Studio 360, PRI's The World, NPR's Latino USA, Deutsche Welle Radio and The Believer Magazine podcast. In addition to her work with CBS Interactive she produces multimedia science stories for online publications and is a teaching assistant at the Transom Story Workshop. Her investigative work has been awarded by the Fund for Investigative Journalism and The Nation Institute’s Investigative Fund. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure