DeliveryRank meets with Dr. Yishai Mishor, the CEO of Meat.The End (MTE), a food tech company that is revolutionizing the alternative protein industry. With a focus on developing novel ingredients and technological solutions, MTE provides a solution for food companies looking to create plant-based products with meat-like textures. Dr. Mishor's multidisciplinary approach has enabled MTE to customize formulations and modify textures, allowing for end products that cater to customers' desires for meaty texture and appearance. His vision is to create a more sustainable food system by offering meat alternatives that are as close as possible to the real thing.
I come from a background in law and economics, and I hold a PhD in economics from the University of Oxford. I used to be a professor at the same university, teaching international law and public policy. Besides my academic work, I have also been involved in management and strategy. I served as the Chief of Staff, for the parliament of Israel under the leadership of various opposition leaders.
During this time, I worked extensively on climate impact policy in response to the crisis that the world is currently facing. However, I grew frustrated with the limited impact that politics has on such a pressing issue, not just in my country, but around the world.
This led me to leave politics at the end of 2019 and start my own company in early 2020. My intention was to create a start-up that could offer an immediate and effective response to climate change. This is my second start-up, as about a decade ago, I developed an idea into a successful legal-tech company that serves as a legal search engine used by lawyers and judges in Israel. I enjoy the process of turning a theoretical idea into a practical one, and I wanted to do it again with something that could closely relate to the environmental crisis.
Let me explain why I chose to focus on the food industry rather than cars or airplanes. For me, it was a revelation to realize that food is an industry that we often overlook when we think of capitalism and its impact on the climate. But the truth is that food is a massive industry with a huge impact on our lives. It includes giants, B2B companies, and huge ingredient factories. If you were to make a list of the most harmful industries for our climate, food would be at the top, no question about that. And within the food industry, the meat industry is at the very top.
On the flip side, if you were to make another list of industries with the most potential for impact, food would also be at the top. We all make food decisions every day, whether it's at the supermarket or when we order food at a restaurant. By offering consumers an alternative that the world is looking for, we can have a significant impact.
So, why did I choose to focus on the food industry? Because it's an industry that needs the most advancement to make an impact on the climate crisis.
The first challenge was that I had no experience in the food industry. I approached this from an almost theoretical exercise of identifying the industry that needs the most improvement. The way I dealt with this was by collecting a team of the most experienced food industry experts I could find. The founding team spent about six months meeting with anyone and everyone in academia, business, and industry. The team that started Meat.The End consists of the highest-ranking food engineers in the industry. We have a chief technologist from a top lab, and a chief mechanical engineer from Unilever, to name a few. These people are not only experienced in food R&D but are also experienced in strategizing the industry.
We turned the most obvious weakness into a point of strength by collecting a team that is very experienced. The company has a family-like feel, with two generations of experts working together. The older ones come from 30 plus years of experience in the industry, while the younger scientists mostly come from biochemistry and data science. The combination of experienced and traditional approaches next to more innovative or sharp approaches has led to a company with a unique approach.
That was our biggest challenge at the beginning, but every month comes with its own set of challenges. We face them head-on, and it keeps us on our toes.
As an expert in the food industry, I understand the challenges that come with creating great-tasting meat alternatives. Consumers often complain about the texture of current options available in supermarkets, which is a huge problem since texture plays a significant role in the overall satisfaction of a food product. Taste is important too, but texture makes up half of the mouthfeel experience. To address this issue, we conducted sensory panels and carefully analyzed the feelings consumers have when eating these products. Through our research, we discovered that texture is the primary concern.
To create a better texture, we focused on developing an index that measures how close our product is to real meat. This was a complicated process since there are many different factors that contribute to the texture of a food. We considered the physics of what goes on in the mouth when chewing, such as whether it's dry, juicy or gooey, and how many times you need to chew before swallowing. We also evaluated how quickly the liquids in your mouth run out when you chew and how fast it accelerates.
After much research, we decided to use extrusion, a food processing technique that applies heat, pressure, and kinetic energy to turn protein powder into a structured food with texture. Extrusion is already popular in the food industry and is used to make snacks, pasta, and even meat alternatives used by the likes of Impossible Foods and Nestle.
Our team spent almost two years developing our first burger, which was released in Burger King six months ago. The product has amazing texture, and we are looking to expand to other Burger King franchises worldwide. We recently received the green light from Burger King International to sell our whopper to any Burger King worldwide, which is a massive accomplishment. There are only three companies in the world that produce and sell whoppers, and we are one of them. Our success with meat alternatives in Burger King Israel has been tremendous, and we are currently in talks with a large European food company to sell a different version of our product.
Credit: Noam Preisman
I believe that the world is undergoing a significant shift from meat to meat alternatives, and it's happening with or without us. It's clear to me that the planet has reached its production limit for animal meat, and we don't need food start-ups to realize this. While the consumption of meat in Europe, North America, and South America is stable, it's on the rise in developing countries like China, where meat consumption increases as the GDP goes up.
The demand for meat is still going up, but the supply of meat is stuck, and we simply cannot produce more. This means that sooner or later, people will have to switch from meat to meat substitutes. Prices of beef have been on a steady incline since 2000, and this trend is not showing any signs of slowing down.
As the demand for meat continues to grow, our mission at Meat.The End is to provide the world with the best meat alternative possible, one that is as close as possible to the real meat experience. Our goal is to help facilitate this transition as quickly as possible, as we are dealing with a crisis that needs a solution right now. Rather than waiting for 5 to 10 years, we want to offer the world an attractive substitute that can gradually reduce their meat consumption.
I believe that size is an important factor in making a difference. When you're bigger, you have more impact, which means you have a better chance of making a positive change. In the case of Meat.The End, I envision our company growing into a very large ingredient company that stays in the background, focused on providing high-quality ingredients rather than consumer-facing products.
By growing in size, we can have the strength and resources to make a more responsible and sustainable food system. My hope is to see Meat.The End become a huge company that can make a significant impact on a global scale.
If you would like to find out more about Meat.The End, visit https://www.meattheend.tech/ or follow on https://www.facebook.com/meat.TheEnd/ or https://www.linkedin.com/company/meat-the-end-inc?originalSubdomain=il