The first artificial burger patty was eaten at a press conference in London in 2013. The artificial meat took Dr. Mark Post over two years to develop and cost him over $330,000. But don’t worry—you can get fake meat for much cheaper. Instead of a lab-grown beef burger worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, you can get Beyond Meat plant-based patties for $5.99 a pack.
The plant-based food industry offers more than meat, though. And in recent years, major celebrities have positioned their investments in this growing market. Let’s look at major companies and smaller startups backed by celebs.
1. Leonardo DiCaprio
It’s no surprise that Leonardo DiCaprio, a supporter of climate change awareness and environmentalism, is also passionate about plant-based foods. He is an early investor and advocate for Beyond Meat, a producer of plant-based meat substitutes.
A few years back, DiCaprio has also Aleph Farms and Mosa Meat to his investment portfolio. Aleph Farms was behind the world’s first cultured steak and ribeye, and Mosa Meat created the world’s first hamburger made from cultured meats.
One of DiCaprio’s recent investments was in Neat, which serves vegan fast food in outlets in the UK.
2. Mark Cuban
Shark Tank’s Mark Cuban is constantly working to promote sustainable and plant-based brands. And he’s putting his money into them:
- Snacklins: Savory crisps from mushrooms, yuca, and onions
- Mrs. Goldfarb’s Unreal Deli: Corned beef made from beets, chickpeas, tomatoes, and spices
- Wild Earth: Sustainable pet food
- Veggie Mama: Vegan fruit and vegetable powders, plant-based protein powder
- Delighted By Desserts: Desserts and cookies made from hummus
- Wanna Date?: Date spreads (cinnamon, pumpkin spice, and chocolate)
He’s also spoken highly of the Pulp Pantry, Cinnaholic Bakery, Delighted by Hummus, and Strella Biotechnology.
Jay-Z is an investor in plant-based chicken company SIMULATE, known as the “Tesla of chicken.” In 2019, the brand launched its flagship product NUGGS, which was sold in more than 5,000 locations, including Walmart, Target, Whole Foods Market, and Sam’s Club. by the end of 2021, the product was sold at an additional 10,000 retail locations.
Jay-Z’s other vegan investments include Impossible Foods (meat, dairy, and fish substitutes), Partake Foods (a vegan cookie brand), and Oatly (oat milk brand). Together with Beyoncé, he also launched the vegan meal delivery brand 22 Days Nutrition.
4. Jake Gyllenhaal
Jake Gyllenhaal invested in and took part in the “Really Good Eggs” campaign for the brand Eat Just. The campaign is a set of parodies based on the celebrities’ wilder health tactics. In the video, Gyllenhaal shares the underlying stance that anyone can eat healthier with JUST Egg’s plant-based egg alternative and be “just like celebrities.”
Another company that Gyllenhaal has invested in is GOOD Meat, which is a new brand from Eat Just, Inc. The company offers cell-based cultured meat. After securing the first-in-the-world regulatory approval, GOOD Meat is also available offline— at a popular Singapore restaurant.
5. Jaden Smith
Jaden Smith, a co-founder of eco-friendly startup Just Water, is also an investor in Impossible Foods. He participated in the $300 million funding round with Jay-Z, Ruby Rose, Serena Williams, and Trevor Noah.
Together with his parents Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, he is also looking to open “I Love You Restaurant.” This will be a vegan eatery for people experiencing homelessness. The initiative was originally just a food truck in Skid Row, which handed out food, water, and MetroCards.