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   Technology StocksImpossible Foods and Beyond

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To: JubilationT who wrote (201)11/20/2020 12:41:52 PM
From: Glenn Petersen
   of 213
Interesting company with a great trade name (The Very Good Butchers). Also, a great run this year. An IPO at $.25 per share (I couldn't confirm the actual price) to $4.19 today.

Probably not a candidate for Natural Order, though. In the 15 years that I have been following SPACs I can recall only one occasion when a SPAC acquired a company that was already public.

Thanks for bringing VRYYF to my attention.

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To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (202)11/24/2020 12:02:50 PM
From: ClearSky
   of 213
Just found this thread recently when searching for info on this Very Good Food company.

News today--the former CFO of Daiya--a dominant vegan cheese brand --is joining the team. Can't hurt. :)

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To: ClearSky who wrote (203)11/24/2020 12:37:36 PM
From: Glenn Petersen
   of 213
The new guy has great credentials. There are more players in this space than I originally thought.

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To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (204)11/24/2020 12:57:06 PM
From: ClearSky
   of 213
It's a woman, right? Or maybe I'm not properly caffeinated yet. Daiya is a dominant brand so with five years there, she should bring some significant on the ground experience and contacts, I would think.

Daiya's website:
The industry leader in plant-based foods. Available at more than 25000 grocery stores across North America and internationally.

The CEO of Very looks pretty young so I was concerned about the ability of the team to execute. This former CFO/ hardcore numbers person seems like an ideal addition.

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To: ClearSky who wrote (205)11/24/2020 1:44:47 PM
From: Glenn Petersen
   of 213
You're right.

Ana Silva, CPA, MBA - Chief Financial Officer - Daiya Foods Inc | LinkedIn

A serious hire for Very.

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From: Glenn Petersen12/2/2020 11:48:00 AM
   of 213
Singapore Approves a Lab-Grown Meat Product, a Global First

The approval for a U.S. start-up’s “cultured chicken” product is a small victory for the nascent laboratory meat industry. Less clear is whether other countries will follow Singapore’s lead.

By Mike Ives
New York Times
Dec. 2, 2020, 8:49 a.m. ET

A handout photograph showing a dish made with lab-grown chicken developed by Eat Just. In Singapore, it’s cleared as a chicken-nugget ingredient. Credit...Eat Just Inc, via Reuters

HONG KONG — First, meat came from farms and forests. Then, it came from factories. More recently, entrepreneurs have been making it from plants.

Some have wondered whether there’s a more advanced approach: Could meat be grown in a laboratory, from existing cells? That effort has faced multiple challenges, from skepticism over something that comes from a lab to questions about what governments might think.

The nascent laboratory meat industry won a small victory Wednesday on that last point, as an American start-up became the first to win government approval — in this case, an announcement by the city state of Singapore — to sell the fruit of its labs to the public in the form of “cultured chicken.”

The company, Eat Just, is based in San Francisco and describes its product as “real, high-quality meat created directly from animal cells for safe human consumption.” Singapore’s Food Agency said on Wednesday that it had approved the product for sale as an ingredient in chicken nuggets.

“This is a historic moment in the food system,” Eat Just’s chief executive, Josh Tetrick, said by telephone on Wednesday. “We’ve been eating meat for thousands of years, and every time we’ve eaten meat we’ve had to kill an animal — until now.”

Singapore’s move is “the world’s first regulatory approval for a cultivated meat product,” said Elaine Siu, the managing director of the Good Food Institute Asia Pacific, a nonprofit organization that promotes cultivated meat and plant-based substitutes for animal products.

“Anyone in this field would know that this is the world’s first because everyone has been waiting — and trying to lobby and fight for it — for the past few years,” added Ms. Siu, whose nonprofit is affiliated with a group with the same name in Washington.

Singapore’s move is “the world’s first regulatory approval for a cultivated meat product,” said Elaine Siu, the managing director of the Good Food Institute Asia Pacific.Credit...Ore Huiying for The New York Times

Singapore’s Food Agency said on Wednesday that it approved the nuggets after Eat Just submitted a safety assessment to the agency’s “novel food” working group, whose seven members are outside experts on food science, toxicology, nutrition, epidemiology and other fields. The agency includes “cultured or cell-based meat grown under controlled conditions” under its definition of novel foods, along with some species of algae, fungi and insects.

“We’re not aware of other countries that have given approval for cultured meat products so far,” Ginny Tan, a spokeswoman for the agency, said in an email.

Mr. Tetrick said that an unnamed Singapore restaurant would begin selling the product “soon enough to begin making a reservation,” but he declined to provide any further details. The company has previously said that it would cost $50 to make a single nugget. It now says on its website that the nuggets will be available at “price parity for premium chicken you’d enjoy at a restaurant.”

Eat Just already sells an egg-like product that it makes from mung beans, Mr. Tetrick said. The product is sold in the United States and China, he said, and the company plans to expand to South Korea early next year.

Mr. Tetrick said he hoped that Singapore’s decision to approve his company’s “GOOD Meat” chicken nuggets would spur regulators in the United States and countries in Western Europe to move faster to regulate lab-grown meat.

“It’s not good for what we’re trying to do to make the food system better if Singapore’s the only one that has this approval,” he said.

A handout photograph of Eat Just’s chief executive, Josh Tetrick. “This is a historic moment in the food system,” he said by telephone on Wednesday. Credit...Eat Just Inc, via Reuters

In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration’s approval is not required for most new ingredients, including imitation meat developed by vegan food brands. Companies can hire consultants to run tests, and they have no obligation to inform the agency of their findings, a process known as self-affirmation.

Ms. Siu of the Good Food Institute said that to her knowledge, no regulator in the world had said that a cultured-meat product could go straight to market. “I think from a business perspective you would want to have the regulator’s blessing,” she added.

The meat business has long faced criticism from animal-rights activists who argue that eating meat is inhumane. The industry has been attracting more scrutiny in recent years for its impact on climate change.

Livestock accounts for around 14.5 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions each year — roughly equivalent to the emissions from all the cars, trucks, airplanes and ships combined. Per gram of protein, cattle have more of an impact than pork, chicken or egg production, largely because they belch up methane, a potent planet-warming gas.

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From: Glenn Petersen12/4/2020 12:42:54 PM
1 Recommendation   of 213
I tried the world's first no-kill, lab-grown chicken burger

Exclusive: At a ‘test restaurant’ in Israel, the meat is grown in vats behind a glass screen. Could it be a taste of the future?

Oliver Holmes in Ness Zion, Israel
The Guardian
Fri 4 Dec 2020 05.34 EST

A cultivated chicken burger made by SuperMeat. Photograph: Quique Kierszenbaum/The Guardian

A PhD in genetics might seem like an unusual requirement for the role of head chef. It makes more sense when the man running the kitchen is not just in charge of frying your chicken burger – he created the meat himself.

“This burger takes something between two to three days to grow,” says Tomer Halevy as he chops red onions, iceberg lettuce and avocado. He proceeds to batter what appears to be a strip of raw chicken before dipping it in breadcrumbs.

Halevy uses the word “grow” because chickens do not need to be slaughtered en masse to produce this type of meat. Cells taken from “source” chickens are cultured in a laboratory, creating potentially endless supplies of muscle and fat tissue. Some cells were removed from eggs, meaning the meat is from birds that were never even born.

Tomer Halevy. Photograph: Quique Kierszenbaum/

The GuardianThe result is the signature dish of a new venture in Israel, the Chicken, the world’s first cultured meat restaurant experience. Still closed to the public owing to coronavirus restrictions, the eatery near Tel Aviv opened its doors to the Guardian for the first private visit by a journalist.

Advocates for the technology argue that if cultured meat can become affordable it will be revolutionary, and not just in its potential to end, or at least significantly cut back, the meat trade. Cultured meat requires no antibiotics or drugs.

Critically, one study suggested it could potentially be produced with 96% lower greenhouse gas emissions and 99% less land – although some animal rights activists argue it perpetuates an unhealthy obsession with eating animals.

Chicken made in SuperMeat’s vats. Photograph: Quique Kierszenbaum/The Guardian

At the Chicken, bottles of red wine line the walls, black stools surround circular tables, and the warm glow of hanging bulbs lights the restaurant. The entire back wall is made of glass. Behind it is the production facility where lab-coated scientists wander around between large metal vats. It is petri-dish-to-table service.

“The meat was made on the other side of the glass. That’s true local production of meat,” jokes Ido Savir, CEO of the restaurant’s parent company, SuperMeat.

The breaded patty is deep-fried in oil, before being placed on a sweet brioche bun, flavoured by wasabi and chilli mayonnaise, with a side of sweet potato chips. Similar to many chicken burgers, it breaks and flakes when pulled apart and is extremely tender. It tastes, at least to this reporter, like a chicken burger.

Ido Savir. Photograph: Quique Kierszenbaum/The Guardian

Halevy, who also holds the role of head of product at SuperMeat, explains that muscle cells naturally contract when they are grown, making the fibres that result in the flakes of the burger that you would expect.

While Halevy says he could make a recreation of a chicken breast – with longer fibres and a dryer, denser bite – one was not offered, and others in the industry have said a fillet is much harder to create outside the bird.

For now, like others in the nascent industry, the start-up is focused on minced chicken. It is aiming to sell to meat companies that often reprocess chicken anyway, for example, into patties and nuggets.

Oliver Holmes tries the burger at the Chicken. Photograph: Quique Kierszenbaum/The Guardian

Unlike reared poultry, this meat is made bespoke. It can be significantly altered in the process, depending on how it is encouraged to grow (in any shape) and what it is used in the “feed” – the water, sugar, amino acid, protein and vitamin bath the meat grows in.

This can lead to surprising possibilities. “We can have something that is between a breast and a thigh,” says Halevy. Meat from animals that are endangered could be cultured without harming them, he adds.

Under the right conditions, every 12 hours the number of cells will double, Halevy says: “If you harvest half the meat on one day, you will get the same amount the next day.”

Preparing a burger. Photograph: Quique Kierszenbaum/The Guardian

Similar to other patties, such as the McChicken, the burger is not just meat but heavily supplemented with other ingredients to add texture and flavour. Roughly 50% is plant-based proteins, with added seasonings.

And like the chicken it serves, the restaurant is not fully fledged. There is still no regulation around cultured meat in Israel, meaning SuperMeat cannot charge customers. However, it intends to invite members of the public to try its dishes, to create a buzz. A waiver agreeing to “voluntarily assume any and all risks” must also be signed.

Savir says the aim is to take cultured meat from a scientific “dream” to reality, adding he believes it will be one or two years before he can sell it.

Deep-frying a burger. Photograph: Quique Kierszenbaum/The Guardian

“This is our platform to have the first engagement,” he says. As well as the public, potential clients from food companies wanting to expand into cultured meat will be invited.

The industry was given a significant boost this week when Singapore became the first state to approve the sale of cultured meat for a “chicken bites” product, which is made using similar techniques. The US-based company that makes the nuggets, Eat Just, said they would be selling to an unnamed restaurant in Singapore.

Savir says the production cost of his chicken burger is $35, which seems high but is dramatically less than it was a few years ago. In 2013, a Dutch pharmacologist, Mark Post, made history by eating the first lab-grown beef burger. It cost about £225,000.

SuperMeat anticipates cultivated meat will get cheaper as the industry grows, possibly reaching cost parity with farmed meat in six to seven years. Reducing the price of the “feed” is vital, Savir says, which accounts for about 70% of costs, similar to conventional meat.

Even if people were to reject it, cultured meat advocates say it could be used for other purposes. In the US, dogs and cats are estimated to eat around a quarter of all meat. Perhaps the biggest hurdle, however, is the “yuck” factor. For many, the idea of lab-grown flesh remains unenticing, or even blasphemous.

“We’re not interfering. We’re just doing it in a different way,” says Savir. “Ice made in a freezer is not interfering with God – it’s using technology to do it more efficiently.”

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From: zax1/14/2021 11:43:45 AM
   of 213
Taco Bell partnering with Beyond Meat to create plant-based protein

Taco Bell announced Thursday that it has partnered with Beyond Meat Inc. to create a plant-based protein that will begin testing in the next year.

Taco Bell announced Thursday that it has partnered with Beyond Meat Inc. BYND, 7.67% to create a plant-based protein that will begin testing in the next year.

This is the brand’s first steps into the world of plant-based meats. Other big fast-food names including fellow Yum Brands Inc. YUM, 2.06% chain KFC and McDonald’s Corp. MCD, -0.55%, which is expected to launch the McPlant in 2021.

Beyond Meat has partnered with and popped up on menus across the culinary spectrum.

This week, the company announced that plant-based Beyond Breakfast Sausage will be offered as part of a free breakfast promotion at Gregorys Coffee in New York City, Love Burger Shack in Dallas, Craftsman & Wolves in San Francisco, and PLNT Burger in Washington, D.C. among other places.

Beyond Meat shares jumped 7% in early Thursday trading after the Taco Bell announcement.


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From: zax1/26/2021 12:16:15 PM
   of 213
Beyond Meat, Inc. (BYND)
189.70 +30.97 (+19.51%)

Beyond Meat soars on plant-based deal with PepsiCo

Shares of Beyond Meat jumped on Tuesday morning after the company announcing it was forming a joint venture to produce and market plant-based foods with PepsiCo.

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From: Glenn Petersen2/7/2021 7:26:14 AM
1 Recommendation   of 213
Impossible Foods’ plant-based meat just got closer to the price of regular meat

The 20 percent price cut is part of a strategy to take plant-based meat mainstream.

By Kelsey Piper
Feb 2, 2021, 11:35am EST

Impossible Foods announced they’re cutting retail prices by 20 percent in a bid to compete with animal meat. Patrick T. Fallon/Getty Images
In the past few years, meatless meat products have taken off among consumers. But the meatless meat market is still only about 1 percent of the meat market. One of the biggest reasons: Plant-based meat products are considerably more expensive.

There are signs, though, that that’s changing. Impossible Foods products on grocery store shelves should get about 20 percent cheaper in upcoming weeks, the company announced Tuesday morning. The company will suggest to retailers that prices drop to $5.49 (from $6.99) for a two-patty package and $6.99 (from $8.99) for a 12-oz. package of ground Impossible beef in the US (actual prices will vary by location and by retailer).

The announcement follows a similar price cut Impossible Foods made for restaurant distributors at the start of the year, and it’s the latest attempt by plant-based meat makers to cut into meat’s big price advantage.

The pandemic has only underscored the importance of cutting into that price advantage and making meatless meat a mainstream alternative to factory-farmed meat. Slaughterhouses, long notorious for their terrible working conditions, have been coronavirus hotspots, in some cases because they responded to the coronavirus crisis by telling employees not to take any sick leave for any reason. And then there are the larger-scale problems that the pandemic reminded the world of: It is a public health hazard to raise animals for food in crowded conditions that can incubate and rapidly spread disease, and our farming practices risk starting the next global pandemic.

In light of those problems, consumers have shown greater interest in plant-based offerings. More and more traditional food companies have launched plant-based meat brands, more and more fast food and casual dining restaurants have added menu options, and major players in the field have raised a lot of money.

Having won the first battle — getting consumers interested enough to try plant-based foods, and investors interested enough to fund them — plant-based meat companies are setting their sights on a bigger challenge: getting plant-based meat products as cheap as animal meat products are. The plant-based meat industry has to be bigger to compete with animal products on price — and competing on price is a key component of getting bigger as an industry.

One pound of factory-farmed beef burgers at the Walmart near me costs just $2.80/pound. To give every person access to plant-based alternatives and to meaningfully transition away from factory farming, plant-based alternatives have to get just as cheap — without cutting any of the same corners.

Plant-based meat is still a long way away from the rock-bottom prices of animal meat. But Impossible Food’s 20 percent price cut is one more step toward making plant-based meat a reliable alternative to factory-farmed animal meat.

Why is meat so cheap anyway?

Meat in America is shockingly, unprecedentedly cheap.

The average price for a meat alternative sold in a grocers’ meat department in the US last year was $9.87/pound. The average price for beef? $4.82/pound. Chicken is even cheaper, at $2.33/pound.

That’s a big difference, and might go a long way toward explaining why even as consumer interest increases and the flavor profile of plant-based meats gets closer and closer to the flavor profile of animal meats, plant-based meats still make up only a very small share of sales.

“The animal industry has optimized its processes for a century,” Dennis Woodside, the president of Impossible Foods, told me.

“The most processed cheap forms of chicken are just insanely cheap, relative to historical standards and relative to other food products on the market,” Lewis Bollard, who researches farm animal welfare at the Open Philanthropy Project, told me last summer. “The chicken industry has managed to cut all their corners, they don’t pay their environmental bills, they don’t pay for a lot of the public health hazards they cause. They have managed to produce a product that is just artificially cheap and hard to compete with.”

But optimization is just one part of the story. The other is that the meat industry has accrued a lot of political power that they’ve leveraged to make meat cheap — and to make Americans eat a lot of it.

Animal agriculture is heavily subsidized by the federal government. That said, neither Bollard nor Zak Weston, a researcher at the Good Food Institute, thinks direct monetary subsidies were the main reason meat was so cheap.

More important are invisible forms of subsidization like not enforcing worker’s rights, exempting factory farms from animal cruelty laws, not requiring companies to engage in environmental cleanup, and not restricting risky practices — like antibiotic overuse — that impose costs on the whole world.

“It’s not the case that plant-based meat is weirdly expensive or labor intensive or something,” Weston previously told me. “The animal protein industry has spent decades wringing incredible efficiencies out of every part of the program. Animal meat gets to externalize a lot of its negatives — externalities like health care, ecological, worker welfare, animal welfare.”

In other words, if the animal meat industry were held accountable for the costs their products and their workings inflict on society, meat would be much more expensive.

Plant-based meat is getting cheaper, but it still doesn’t beat animal meat

Impossible’s 20 percent price cut is large in absolute terms, but price parity is still a long way away.

Nevertheless, industry experts are optimistic.

“We were thinking about cost reductions and getting to the cost structure of commodity ground beef from the very beginning,” David Lee, chief financial officer of Impossible Foods, previously told me. “We knew that if we had the best product at the same cost, then consumers would vote with their stomachs.”

In the past few years, they’ve already made progress. Last year, Impossible Foods slashed prices for restaurants by 15 percent. Now, they’re cutting recommended retail prices by 20 percent. Companies were wary of sharing with me specific figures on their costs, but based on Securities and Exchange Commission filings, Bollard estimates that Beyond’s cost of production has fallen from $4.50/pound in mid-2019 to $3.50/pound in mid-2020.
At a few outlets, such as Dunkin’, Beyond Meat’s Sausage Sandwich sells for the exact same price as the meat sausage sandwich. Beyond Meat executive Charles Muth says that Beyond’s products do much better when they’re listed at the same price as meat.

“The thing we like to say here,” Muth said last year, “is we’re changing the way consumers and shoppers think about what they eat. We don’t want pricing to be a barrier when they’re considering that. We’d like to take pricing out of that conversation as best as we can.”

There’s no single brilliant secret to making a mass-manufactured product cheaper. Instead, experts told me, it’s a matter of relentlessly making every element of the supply chain, the manufacturing process, and the distribution process work slightly better.

When a company is big enough, it can make ingredient purchases at scale, get expensive equipment that’s only worthwhile if it’ll be used to make an enormous number of products, have distribution centers in lots of different parts of the world to minimize transportation costs, and negotiate better deals for its supplies. There’s the potential for a virtuous cycle where lower costs recruit more consumers, who make further cost savings possible.

It’s those savings from scale that drove Impossible Foods’ latest price cuts. “Over the last year, we’ve more than doubled our production,” Woodside said. “The more that we are selling, the better utilization we have of our manufacturing lines, the better prices we get from our supplies, the more suppliers we can bring into the plant-based ecosystem.”

And while the ultimate goal of every plant-based foods expert I’ve spoken to is price parity with animal meat, price cuts make a big difference even before they reach that point. Cheaper plant-based meat means options for more consumers and more restaurants. It also means less demand for animal products at a time when prices are high, animal welfare is ignored, and Congress is investigating coronavirus outbreaks at slaughterhouses. There’s a long road ahead, but a 20 percent price cut is a substantial step forward.

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