Where’s the Beef? The Fake Meat of the Future Is Chicken.

A plant-based food startup is building the machinery to replace America’s favorite meat at an industrial scale

Andrew Zaleski
Future Human
Published in
10 min readNov 18, 2020


Illustration: Jess Hannigan

Plant-based meat is having a moment. Impossible Whoppers are available at Burger Kings nationwide, and Dunkin’ now carries a Beyond Sausage breakfast sandwich. Even McDonald’s is going to launch a line of plant-based products.

The growth in alternative meats is largely driven by the view that meat made from plants, unlike the flesh of slaughtered animals, has a smaller carbon footprint and protects the environment instead of adding to its woes. Environmental stewardship is in large part the marketing message for companies pioneering plant-based beef. Impossible Foods CEO Pat Brown has even said his plan is to take larger and larger bites of the beef market as a way to push the industry “into a death spiral.”

But the poultry industry isn’t safe, either — and it’s Big Chicken that is squarely in the crosshairs of Rebellyous Foods.

Founded by Boeing engineer turned food entrepreneur Christie Lagally, the three-year-old startup is concocting plant-based versions of breaded tenders, patties, and nuggets. These ready-to-eat versions are how most Americans get their poultry.