Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, thinks there’s no good reason to eat beef burgers anymore. The billionaire philanthropist just appeared in an episode of YouTuber and engineer Mark Rober’s show to taste test plant-based hamburgers and bratwurst.
“It’s quite good, I mean that’s light-years away from what they used to make,” says Gates, while trying the burger. “The quality is going to keep getting better. You know the plant-based guys are not done innovating. Eventually, they claim, you won’t be able to tell the difference.”
Gates has previously expressed his fondness for Seattle fast-food staples Burgermaster and Dick’s Drive-in. A photograph of the billionaire standing in line at Dick’s recently went viral. But Gates aims to tackle climate change and promote environmental sustainability, including through plant-based foods. In the video, he explains the inefficiency of meat production.
“The agriculture sector is about 18 percent of overall emissions, but livestock is about half of that 18 percent and almost all of that is beef,” says Gates. “[It’s] very inefficient, particularly beef. It’s almost eight to one, you use eight calories to feed that cow for every calory of meat you get out.”
“That means that sector alone is responsible for more greenhouse gases than all the cars, trucks, trains, ships, and planes combined,” adds Robar. “A plant-based diet is a way more efficient use of natural resources. We could feed an additional 3.5 billion people worldwide if all countries just ate the stuff they fed to animals.”
Reducing Meat Consumption
Robar, a former mechanical engineer and NASA employee, also discusses the technological evolution of the vegan burger with Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods—two plant-based companies that Gates himself invested in. Robar highlights the particular benefits of “realistic” vegan alternatives for meat-eaters such as himself who aim to cut down.
“Their goal is to make it as frictionless as possible for people like me to make the switch,” explains Robar. “Then not only will the experience be identical to eating meat, but it’s better for you, better for animals, and much better for the planet.”
Robar ends the video by thanking Gates for his contributions to sustainability. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation states that “all lives have equal value,” and explains that the couple are “impatient optimists working to reduce inequality.” In addition to investing in sustainable alternatives, the foundation fights food waste and promotes various humanitarian efforts.