How Mr Beast will change our view of lab-grown meat

Mr Beast, otherwise known as 24-year-old Jimmy Donaldson, could be the person that gets the world eating lab-grown meat. If you don’t know who Mr Beast is, he’s got 120 million subscribers on YouTube and is the top-earning YouTuber in the world, raking in over $50m a year from his YouTube channel alone.

He also launched Mr Beast Burger in December 2020, which became America’s fastest-growing restaurant chain, on course for $100 million in revenue this year. This guy has serious influence. He could launch a range of shower caps and likely sell millions of them. Mr Beast Burger already sells a plant-based burger based on Impossible Foods’ soy-based burgers.

In a recent interview with Forbes magazine, Jimmy said he would jump at selling lab-grown meat at his Mr Beast Burger chain. The only caveat is that it must taste so good that people can’t tell the difference between animal protein and the lab-based version. He’s keen to move to slaughter-free meat as soon as possible.

He wouldn’t be the first person who tried to shift away from animal-based protein in burgers, so why is he important? And why is this any different to Beyond Meat who are making absolutely enormous losses right now?

The answer is very simple. Influence.

Lab-grown future

Everyone wants a piece of Mr Beast, he’s being touted as becoming the first-ever YouTube billionaire, and he has extraordinary influence over his audience, they’ll do whatever he says. 

The usual arguments for choosing alternative meat products are environmental reasons. You know, the planet is dying, climate change, etc., etc., so please be a good person and stop eating meat. Unfortunately, we are humans and have a habit of continuing to do things even when we know they’re not good for us, for other people, or for the planet. Look at alcohol, drugs, smoking etc, even when we all know these things are bad for us, we carry on doing them.

And research also shows that one of the best ways to get people on board with a cause is through messages of positivity. Think how many people likely started smoking just because they thought it was cool – they thought it would have a positive outcome, such as being included in a group, having more friends or being more attractive. 

That’s exactly what Mr Beast would do for lab-gorwn meat, he would make it cool. If he sells it, there will immediately be an enormous audience that will eat it, simply because Mr Beast is behind it. The power he brings could normalise cell-based meat far more quickly than anyone who is currently advocating for the environment can.

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