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Beyond Meat

Chicken Substitute To Be Made In Columbia

Beyond Meat founder Ethan Brown announces that his company is investing in a production facility in Columbia to produce its soy-based chicken product during a news conference at the Stoney Creek Inn Tuesday, August 7th

City and university officials today announced that Savage River Inc., a company that makes meat substitutes, will open a Columbia factory that could employ as many as 60 people within five years.

Officials from Regional Economic Development Inc. and company representatives made the announcement immediately after a REDI conference at Stoney Creek Inn. The Los Angeles company uses technology licensed from the University of Missouri to make its Beyond Meat brand foods and already is converting a building at 1714 Commerce Court to use as a production facility.

"The benefits of being close to the university are really measurable," Beyond Meat founder Ethan Brown said. "And it's the right thing to do."

Beyond Meat initially will produce its Chicken-Free Strips, which use vegetable protein to mimic the taste and texture of chicken, at its Columbia facility. But the company plans to begin offering new products using university research, and it expects to have a beef substitute in production soon.

"The way sales have gone, it'll be the end of next year," said Bob Prusha, vice president of operations at Beyond Meat.

The product has garnered national attention, which makes economic development officials hopeful that Beyond Meat could have a promising future. NPR covered the company in May, and New York Times food columnist Mark Bittman said he couldn't tell the difference between the chicken substitute and real chicken when it was used in a wrap. "This could be a really big business," said REDI President Mike Brooks.

Read the rest at the Columbia Daily Tribune >>