He’s an actor, environmentalist, philanthropist and film producer. He’s also, quite possibly, the world’s most famous vegetarian. Yes, if you hadn’t guessed already, we’re talking about Leonardo DiCaprio. But Hollywood’s favorite tree-hugger has now taken his commitment to saving the planet one step further by investing a ton of his own money in a veggie burger that bleeds, just like beef.
The burger has been created by Beyond Meat, a plant-based food startup, in the hope that by mimicking the look and feel of a traditional burger, it will tempt even the most committed of carnivores away from the hard stuff and onto a more environmentally friendly food fix.
The burgers, which Beyond Meat say taste just like the real thing, are made from a mixture of pea protein, yeast extract and coconut oil. The 'blood' comes from beet juice, so if you’re the kind of person that likes your meat so rare it’s pretty much still walking, then you shouldn’t be left feeling too deprived. They also sizzle like the real thing when you cook them, meaning the illusion is maintained from start to finish.
In a move that will please all the gym-bros out there, the Beyond Meat burgers contain even more protein than a real burger, according to the box. They’re also soy and gluten-free. Unfortunately, they do also have more sodium and more calories than you’d normally find in a burger. But you can’t win 'em all, eh?
In a statement, DiCaprio explained his motivations for investing, citing that "livestock production is a major contributor to carbon emissions", before adding: "shifting from animal meat to the plant-based meats developed by Beyond Meat is one of the most powerful measures someone can take to reduce their impact on our climate."
Although it hasn’t been revealed quite how much dollar DiCaprio has thrown into the pot, the 42-year-old is well known for investing generously in causes that he believes in. Last September, he gave $20 million to more than 100 environmentally-focused organisations via the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, which he founded in 1998.
In the past he has also backed a sustainable seafood company, LoveTheWild, as well as a plant-based snack company called Hippeas. It is estimated that the widespread adoption of a vegetarian diet could bring carbon emissions down by 63 per cent, and it's no surprise that DiCaprio has invested in so many vegetarian ventures in order to help the environment.
Having been received with some skepticism when they first appeared at a Whole Foods in Colorado last year, Beyond Meat products are now sold at Whole Foods and Safeway supermarkets across the US, as well as some TGI Friday's restaurants. The news also comes just a few weeks after it was revealed McDonald’s are launching a McVegan burger.
It seems Leo isn’t alone in having faith in Beyond Meat either; it’s also being backed by a whole host of other famous faces, including Bill Gates - a man renowned for his love of Big Macs - and Twitter co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams.
Whether it will catch on or not, only time will tell, but this bloody beet burger is sure to come as welcome news to vegetarians all over - and to any carnivore that’s ever watched Cowspiracy.