Talking to Future Food Finance, Neat Burger founder Tommaso Chiabra accused McDonald’s and other big fast-food chains of being responsible for a “big chunk” of pollution.
The co-founder of a plant-based restaurant chain that has just scored Leonardo DiCaprio as an investor has blasted the McPlant burger, saying McDonald’s should do more to help the environment.
McDonald’s recently introduced a vegan burger, the McPlant, to its menu as vegan brands grow in popularity with consumers and become increasingly valuable to investors.
While welcoming moves by big brands to educate customers about the virtues of alternative proteins, Chiabra chided McDonald's for not doing more to help the environment.
He said: “The fact that they serve one item in the menu after all the damaging unsustainable products that they use is definitely a drop in the ocean of what they should do.”
Hollywood actor DiCaprio has just participated in UK-based Neat Burger’s latest fundraise, which focused predominantly on US investors.
But Chiabra says he didn’t believe there is a greater appetite from US investors compared to European investors to invest in alternative protein firms.
“From my experience, I wouldn’t say there is much difference in appetite for our business,” he said.
“I think the US has a bigger volume of capital, bigger volume of investors, higher number of VCs. The white space in the US is much larger for business than in a single European country.
"Certainly, we have attracted a lot of US-focused investors.”
The funding round aims to bag $30m and follows a $7 million investment round in October last year.
The funding will be used to establish a range of products in the supermarket in the US and UK later this year.
Its current products served in its restaurants include the Neat Burger, Chick’n Burger and Filet-No-Fish burger
Neat Burger, which also counts F1 driver Lewis Hamilton as an investor, currently operates eight sites in London, plans to open a store in New York later this year.
It also plans to open 15 Neat Burger sites in the US by the end of the year and is also set to launch in the Middle East and Italy partly through franchise partnerships.
DiCaprio says he is investing in Neat Burger to “disrupt the food system with sustainable alternatives.” He said in a statement: “[It’s] one of the key ways we can make a real difference in reducing global emissions.”
The actor also called Neat Burger’s approach to producing food as “pioneering” adding it’s a “great example of the type of solutions we need moving forward.”