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Join host Paul Shapiro as he talks with some of the leading start-up entrepreneurs and titans of industry alike using their businesses to help solve the world’s most pressing problems.

Jan 1, 2021

If you’re a regular listener of the show, you likely already know that reducing humanity’s reliance on animals for food is one of the most pressing challenges the world faces at this moment. But meat demand just keeps rising and we’re raising more animals for food today than ever before.

One thing keeping meat alternatives merely as alternatives is that plant-based meat is still sold at multiples over the cost of animal-based meat. In other words, lowering the cost of meat alternatives seems like a true business and moral imperative.

Kristie Middleton has spent her life trying to move our food industry away from animal usage and toward plant proteins. She knows as well as anyone just how critical price is when it comes to influencing institutional purchasing decisions. After spending two decades working for animal welfare charities, including authoring a book on meat reduction, she’s now left the life of a nonprofit animal activist behind and embraced an executive role at an early-stage plant-based chicken startup called Rebellyous Foods. 

Their goal is very simple to understand but incredibly difficult to achieve: compete on cost with commodity chicken.

In this episode we talk about Kristie’s transition from the world of charities to the work of building a company aimed at helping animals. We also discuss how Rebellyous Foods intends to bend the cost curve of plant-based meat and what they’re doing with the $12 million they’ve raised from venture capitalists so far.

It’s an inspirational tale for anyone interested in making the world a better place for all animals, human and nonhuman alike.

Discussed in this episode

More about Kristie Middleton

Kristie Middleton is vice president of business development for Rebellyous Foods and the author of MeatLess: Transform the Way You Eat and Live—One Meal at a Time. Prior to joining Rebellyous, Kristie was Managing Director of Farm Animal Protection at the Humane Society of the United States, where she built and led a team of foodservice professionals working with foodservice management corporations and institutions across the U.S. to help them reduce meat purchases and incorporate more plant-based options into their menus.

Kristie has partnered with the nation’s biggest school districts including Los Angeles, Detroit, and Boston and some of the world’s largest food companies to implement plant-based initiatives such as Meatless Monday.