Healthcare Technology Featured Article

August 19, 2020

CEO Spotlight: Paul Shapiro of the The Better Meat Co.




Paul Shapiro is a renowned thought leader in the realm of food sustainability, clean meat, animal welfare, and the future of food manufacturing. He is the co-founder and CEO of The Better Meat Co., and the host of the “Business For Good” podcast. Shapiro is the author of the Washington Post Best-Selling book, “Clean Meat: How Growing Meat Without Animals Will Revolutionize Dinner and the World.” Through various distinguished platforms, Shapiro lends his insights to educate the public about the state of the meat industry. A leader in this scope, Shapiro has delivered four TEDx Talks about the future of food and animal protection.

Education And Early Activism

As a high school student at Georgetown Day School in Washington, DC, young Shapiro became interested in animal rights. Implementing his interest into action, Shapiro founded the high school club, Compassion Over Killing. A manifestation of his growing hobby, the club intended to spread awareness about troublesome food manufacturing standards. Under Shapiro’s fledgling leadership, the organization ran campaigns that stopped misleading advertising on egg cartons. Shapiro organized national campaigns about various animal abuses in the food industry. Compassion Over Killing grew swiftly and garnered national attention. 

Paul Shapiro attended Georgetown University, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution in 2001. Throughout the entirety of this time, Shapiro continued to operate Compassion Over Killing. After receiving his degree, Shapiro became the first full-time employee of the national organization. He remained in charge of the evolving organization until 2005. Fifteen years later Compassion Over Killing was renamed as Animal Outlook. The institution continued to spearhead farm animal protection efforts.

In 2005, Shapiro joined a national animal conservation group as the organization’s Vice President of farm animal protection. Within this role, Shapiro worked alongside various entities to propel more sustainable practices in the meat industry, and forward legislation for the protection of animals. He also worked alongside political change-makers to enact animal protection laws and the evolution of meat manufacturing processes.

TEDx Talks And Public Speaking

With years of pertinent experience in the sustainability field, Paul Shapiro delivered four TEDx Talks. These thought-provoking sessions explore myriad topics related to the effects of meat protections and the promise of sustainability. Shapiro’s Baltimore-based session, “Are We Doing More to Protect Aliens than Life on Earth?” compared NASA’s protective rules for potential alien life to the lack of protection we offer to life on earth. In South Lake Tahoe, Shapiro presented “Clean Meat: The Clean Energy of Food.” This TEDx Talk showcased the potential benefits of clean meat start-up companies growing real meat without animals. He presented innovative successes in the quest to create cell-cultured clean meat products for mass consumption.

Shapiro’s third TEDx Talk, “We Are Better Than How We Treat Animals,” called on humanity to explore the way animals are treated. In his Washington D.C. based presentation, “What Will Future Generations Think About Our Treatment of Animals?”, Shapiro explored cultural changes dictating appropriate behavior. He asked audiences to ponder whether future generations will disapprove of the way we produce meat today.

In addition to these prolific TEDx Talks, Paul Shapiro has been tapped to present his thoughts via various platforms. He has appeared on CNN and various other national television platforms. Shapiro has published opinion pieces everywhere from The Washington Post to Fortune Magazine. His scholarly pieces were published in respected academic publications. These include “Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics”, and “Impact of Meat Consumption on Health and Environmental Sustainability.”

The Better Meat Co.

After years of calling for innovation in the meat manufacturing industry, Paul Shapiro co-founded The Better Meat Co. in April 2018. Working with industry manufacturers, The Better Meat Co. is an ingredient company that provides plant-protein formulas for use in hybridizing meat products. These plant-based ingredients are used by national meat manufacturers, creating myriad benefits for all parties involved. The plant-based additions boost the overall nutrition of ground meat products, enhance yield, and improve sustainability. With a decreased need for environmentally taxing animal farming, manufacturers can see lower costs while having a smaller ecological footprint.

For consumers, meat products enriched with The Better Meat Co.’s plant-based proteins provide more nutritious products with less saturated fat and cholesterol. The company’s meat-addition products are all allergen-free, clean label, and blend seamlessly with ground meat products. Speaking on the evolution of the traditional meat consumer, Shapiro has stated that “meat consumers are increasingly diversifying their protein sources and enhancing meat with delicious plant protein formulas is a win-win for the consumer and the planet.” This is a leading mission for The Better Meat Co.

The growing company has recently announced the successful close of an impressive $8.1 million seed funding round. Along with a previous round of funding, this brings the company’s total funding to $9.7 million. The Better Meat Co. has secured a collaboration with leading meat manufacturers, including Perdue Farms. The giant now uses The Better Meat Co. plant-based proteins in its Perdue Chicken Plus nuggets, patties, and tenders. 

“Business For Good” Podcast

In July 2018, Shapiro launched the “Business For Good” podcast alongside his wife and co-host, Toni Okamoto Shapiro. In the podcast’s inaugural season, the duo spotlighted thought-provoking individuals who use their entrepreneurial skills to foster change in various industries. Interviewing start-up CEOs, industry leaders, and proponents for innovation, the duo captured the attention of avid listeners. Now in its second season, Shapiro solely hosts the show but joins occasional VIP co-hosts to continue discussions about solving serious social problems through business enterprises.

“Clean Meat: How Growing Meat Without Animals Will Revolutionize Dinner and the World”

In January 2018, Paul Shapiro released his debut book, “Clean Meat: How Growing Meat Without Animals Will Revolutionize Dinner and the World.” The book was swiftly named a Washington Post Best-Seller on January 7, 2018. Shapiro’s book is the first combined look at the race to bring clean meat to the mass consumer market. In the book, Shapiro explores the groundbreaking first steps to harvesting real meat products from animal cells.

Without the need for extensive animal farming, the commercialization of this clean meat process has the potential to change the entire industry. It will render vast environmental improvements, meet evolving ethical standards, and improve the health and wellness of meat consumers. Chronicling this inventive process, Shapiro’s book is a testament to the clean meat movement.

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