Beyond Meat: The Burger for Animal Lovers and Cause Supporters

At Higher Paws, we love people with a passion and companies with a purpose. We support any good cause, and have a special place in our heart for pets and animals (we’re sure that comes as a big surprise).

What happens when you combine the missions of improving human health, addressing climate change, conserving natural resources, and preserving animal welfare? You get Beyond Meat, a food company that makes plant-based alternatives to meat.

Although the company launched in 2009, it’s dominated headlines recently due to the success of its IPO (initial public offering) on the stock market. While the markets see the growth potential for Beyond Meat to dominate the plant-based food market, consumers, advocates, and a range of restaurants, hotels, grocery stores, and universities see the value of plant-based protein and meat alternatives.

Since we care so deeply about purposeful missions, we’ll outline the 4 issues Beyond Meat is addressing, and how plant-based protein can combat them.

Improving Human Health

One of the greatest feats of modern humans is the prolonging of life expectancy and miraculous discoveries and improvements in the medical and healthcare industries. Another great feat -- at least seemingly -- was the sustainability and security of food. Advances in technology afforded food companies to produce more food and get more food to more people. But those advances in technology came with some negative repercussions, with studies indicating how processed foods harm people’s health and increase the risk of obesity or even cancer. In the case of red meat, a Harvard study indicates that consuming red meat increased the risk of death by 13% -- and that eating processed red meats increased the risk of death by 20%. Plant-based alternatives to meat may prevent the onset of obesity, cancer, and pre-mature death.

Addressing Climate Change

Climate change has reared its ugly head in a few noticeable ways, including the shrinking of glaciers and rising of sea levels. Livestock rearing and processing produces greenhouse gases that lead to climate change. In 2017, agriculture accounted for 9% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Livestock attributed to about one-third of that. By reducing the amount of red meat eaten, we reduce the amount of livestock being mass-produced to meet that demand. Then, in turn, we reduce the amount of livestock producing greenhouse gases. This isn’t about killing off cows; it’s about not artificially producing more than would naturally occur.

Conserving natural resources

From fossil fuels to drinking water, rainforests to ocean ecosystems, humans have used these natural resources to live and make the world we live in today. The problem is, we need to sustain and replenish those natural resources for the sake of the planet’s longevity. Livestock can put pressure on natural resources like land and water. Fueling the mass-production of livestock takes a lot of food and water. As a result, a lot of crop land is used to grow feed-crops like maize and soybeans, which leads to a lack of biodiversity, land degradation, and water pollution.

Preserving animal welfare

More than 70 billion land animals are slaughtered each year for food. The push for mass-production leads to torturous living situations. With plant-based alternatives, Beyond Meat won’t harm any animals itself, of course. But if it draws the market’s appetite, perhaps its impact can spread further by pressuring meat producers to change their production habits.

What cause do you care most about? Share with us on Facebook or Instagram.