Meat industry insider tells peers to “lead, follow, or get out of the way”

An article published in leading meat industry outlet Meatingplace makes a strong case for acknowledging “that change is going to happen in our industry and [we need to] prepare for it or, better yet, be a catalyst for it.”
Two green cows standing out amongst other cows in a line

Something we’re delighted to see: a plug for The Good Food Conference in Meatingplace.

In an article entitled “Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way” published by leading meat industry outlet Meatingplace, Mack Graves, a 39-year veteran of the animal ag industry, makes a strong case that the meat industry should acknowledge “that change is going to happen in our industry and prepare for it or, better yet, be a catalyst for it.”

He cites the TEDx Talk by GFI’s Executive Director Bruce Friedrich on why plant-based and clean meat offer the most efficient way to feed the world. Graves then points out that The Good Food Conference is a major draw for profit-oriented venture capitalists.

Read: There is money in plant-based and clean meat. These sectors are poised to transform the whole industry.

As Graves says:

We in the animal agriculture business need to recognize that our industry is evolving and adjust our future to prosper from that evolution rather than let it wash over us leaving us the alternative of trying to keep our head above the flood to compete.
These two alternatives, plant based meat and clean meat, have shown the most potential for change since the “natural” meat movement of 30 years ago. Witness the fact that 21 of 22 poultry companies now market their products as antibiotic free or “natural.”

He continues:

Our response to these new meat varieties can’t be one of denial, obfuscation and defensive striking out in an attempt to destroy any new or different claim as we did when “natural” meat was first advocated.

At GFI, we have been heartened by the response to plant-based and clean meat of the conventional meat industry—including investments by TysonCargill, and Maple Leaf. This article from Mr. Graves is one more indication that the meat industry knows that innovation is the future because:

Tyson CEO Tom Hayes put it well when he told Bloomberg Businessweek, “If we can grow the meat without the animal, why wouldn’t we?”


We’re so glad to see vanguards within the meat industry thinking differently about how we can meet consumer demand. Graves outlines three possible paths forward, “[The meat industry] can either lead or follow or get out of the way of this ‘meat’ evolution.”

Don’t miss The Good Food Conference! It may be sold out but you can catch all the world-class speakers on our free livestream. You can even pose questions via social media: #goodfoodconference.


Mary allen

Mary Allen GFI ALUM

Mary Allen is a science writer, creative strategist, and GFI alum focused on the intersection of sustainability and emerging technology. Find more of her work at