Plant-based company Beyond Meat and the American Cancer Society (ACS) have announced a multi-year agreement to boost research around plant-based meat and its potential role in preventing cancer.
The partnership will help the ACS continue building its data collection on plant-based meat and diets for its Cancer Prevention study-3 (CPS-3), allowing researchers to understand whether eating plant-based proteins, including animal-free meat alternatives, can lower the risk of developing cancer.
Speaking on the agreement, Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown said: “One of our core goals at Beyond Meat is to positively impact human health – and we’re committed to taking action by supporting trusted, scientific and evidence-based research on the benefits of shifting the protein at the centre of the plate from animal-based meat to plant-based meat.”
Cancer Prevention Studies, which are long-term studies (also known as follow-up studies) led by the ACS, help researchers identify cancer risk factors among a group of more than 300,000 participants over long periods of time. The ACS has been running these studies since the 1950s.
Past studies have already revealed that following a diet high in plant-based foods and low in processed and red meat can reduce risk factors for heart disease, but research is still “in its early stages, particularly in relation to cancer”, according to Dr William L. Dahut, Chief Scientific Officer at the American Cancer Society.
In 2020, the results from a Stanford University School of Medicine SWAP-MEAT study – where participants replaced animal-based meat with Beyond Meat’s plant-based alternative over an eight week period showed that participants’ cholesterol levels, heart disease risk factors and body weight had all improved.
Christopher Gardner PhD, Director of Nutrition Studies at the Stanford Prevention Research Center and the Rehnborg Farquhar Professor of Medicine at Stanford University has called the latest agreement “a critical step forward in conducting studies on cancer and plant-based meat diets”.
He added: “[It’s] a research area that has historically been lacking and builds upon the foundational research we’re doing as part of the Plant-Based Diet Initiative at the Stanford University School of Medicine”.
This isn’t the first time Beyond Meat has supported plant-based diet research. In 2021, the company launched the Plant-Based Diet Initiative Fund at Stanford University’s School of Medicine, which will analyse the effects of plant-based diets on human health.