Tyson Foods launched venture capital fund
On the job since June 2016, Tyson Foods Inc. CEO Thomas Hayes is shaking things up: reassigning executives, hunting for acquisitions of companies with expanded food products and a commitment that the biggest U.S. meat producer will no longer use antibiotics in its flagship chicken products.
So expansion into more plant-based protein products to meet growing consumer demand worldwide. Tyson Foods currently has just in 2017 take a 5% stake in the plant-based protein start-up Beyond Meat, and the company has now launched a venture capital fund worth $150 million to invest in startups that develop meat substitutes. Background fpr such kind of investments is, that Tyson CEO Thomas Hayes pointed out in a TV interview, “Here’s the issue: If we’re going to feed nine and a half billion people around the world by 2050, we have to be part of the solution,” he says. “Big food has to get in the ballgame.”
In fact, the entire food production industry needs to step up to the plate and a look at the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) stats shows, that protein consumption is growing around the world — and it continues to grow. “It’s not just hot in the U.S.; it’s hot everywhere, people want protein, so whether it’s animal-based protein or plant-based protein, they have an appetite for it. Plant-based protein is growing almost, at this point, a little faster than animal-based, so I think the migration may continue in that direction,”he says.
Hayes is a consumer products veteran with more than 30 years of experience. Prior to his current role, he led all operations and commercial functions as president of Tyson Foods. Hayes previously held positions in the company as chief commercial officer, overseeing all North American sales, as well as president of foodservice.