Paul Shapiro wears lots of hats – CEO, founder, advisor, podcaster, author – but the one constant through in all those roles is that of evangelist.
This is obvious to anyone who follows Shapiro on social media; the author of Clean Meat: How Growing Meat Without Animals Will Revolutionize Dinner and the World will cheer on pretty much anything and everyone who is working towards the end of factory farming.
This goal of moving to a post industrial animal economy is also what drives the Better Meat Company, Shapiro’s startup that sells plant-based ingredients for food companies. The way the company does that today is through creating ingredients for meat producers like Perdue to create hybrid meat/plant-based food products (plant-based and meat in one product). In the past those plant-based ingredients relied primarily on pea protein blends, but as the company moves forward they are hoping many of these new meat products will be based on their proprietary fermented fungi-based protein called Rhiza.
I sat down recently with Shapiro to talk about the creation of their new mycoprotein production facility for Rhiza and how the technology works. We also discuss the current state of plant-based proteins, how those who work in plant-based space need to overcome their own biases and whether cell-based meat skeptics like Pat Brown are correct.