Nearly a decade ago, Gates started pouring investments into the lab-grown meat industry, believing that it could upend the world's $1 trillion meat industry and that eating synthetic meats could help deal with climate change by helping Americans reduce their overall carbon footprint.
Investors like Gates were responsible for providing the fake meat industry with over $2.6 billion in funding for the past few years. (Related: GMO MEAT? Bill Gates now spending tens of millions to genetically modify livestock.)
For a time, American consumers also bought into the hype. Beginning in 2019, Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods soared in popularity, capturing consumers and media headlines alike as people flocked to try out their plant-based meats. Consumers who tasted the fake meat claimed it looked and tasted similar enough to beef.
Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods sold their products to restaurants, with fast food giant Burger King cashing in on the popularity by adding an "Impossible Whopper" burger to its menu.
Both fake meat companies even started experimenting with other types of meat they could replace, expanding their range of offering to other meat products like sausages and chicken nuggets.
Unfortunately for Gates, the fake meat sector's fortunes are waning fast. The economic slowdown, coupled with the loss of buzz for the fake meat products, has caused a massive slump in sales for the two big fake meat players.
Impossible Foods recently announced plans to lay off roughly 20 percent of its workforce. This translates to around 140 of the company's 700 employees. The layoffs come after attempts to reduce the company's headcount through voluntary buyouts did not result in a sufficient number of employees leaving.
Impossible Foods claims this mass layoff is a means of streamlining its business so that it can continue to "hyper grow."
Beyond Meat, responding to the company's shares plunging 75 percent in the first three quarters of 2022, has also slashed its workforce by around 20 percent, translating to around 200 employees being fired. Beyond Meat's stock price is currently down roughly 67 percent compared to a year ago. Company executives blamed inflation for pushing consumers away from the pricier plant-based meat products.
Beyond Meat experienced a high-profile disaster last year when its much-touted pilot collaboration with McDonald's, meant to compete with Impossible Foods' arrangement with Burger King, known as the "McPlant" burger, was discontinued by the fast food giant. Reports indicate that, even though the fake meat burger was rolled out to hundreds of McDonald's branches all over the country, there wasn't much demand for it.
The company then experienced a series of bizarre scandals that also affected its image, including its former CEO Doug Ramsey, who was arrested for allegedly biting another man's nose following a disagreement regarding a football game and making a "terroristic threat" after the incident.
Around a month later, a whistleblower revealed photos inside a Beyond Meat plant in Pennsylvania revealing mold in and around food production and storage equipment, as well as documents showing that the company's fake meat products tested positive for listeria, a harmful bacteria, nearly a dozen times over the last year.
Despite these clear setbacks, Gates still believes in the future of meat alternatives.
"There are companies making 'beef' in new ways," he said in an online interview. "I think eventually these products will be very good, even though their share is small today."
Learn more about the lab-grown meat industry at FakeMeat.news.
Watch this clip from InfoWars as Alex Jones discusses Bill Gates' move to dominate the world's food supply.