USA – Leonardo DiCaprio has joined the likes of Bill Gates and Twitter co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams in becoming an “official investor and advocate” of California-based startup Beyond Meat.

The Beyond Burger – the plant-based patty that cooks and looks like meat – has expanded rapidly since it was launched last year. It’s now available in the meat aisle at more than 3,000 grocery stores across the U.S.

“Livestock production is a major contributor to carbon emissions. Shifting from animal meat to the plant-based meats developed by Beyond Meat is one of the most powerful measures someone can take to reduce their impact on our climate,” DiCaprio said in a statement.

The actor and environmental activist continued, “Beyond Meat’s ability to create appealing, healthy meat directly from plants will go a long way in helping every day consumers take action on climate change.”

Self-described as the “future of protein,” the vegan Beyond Burger contains 20 grams of plant protein per serving; and is free from GMOs, soy and gluten.

Other products in the startup’s meatless line-up include the pea protein-based Beast Burgers; and soy and pea protein-based Beyond Chicken Strips.

As Business Insider reports, Beyond Meat hasn’t disclosed the amount of DiCaprio’s investment.

He has previously invested in Hippeas – makers of organic chickpea puffs – and sustainable seafood company Love The Wild.

Since the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation was established in 1998, the non-profit has donated US$80 million to environmental causes.

“I am thrilled to officially welcome Leonardo DiCaprio to the Beyond Meat family. His investment and role as an advocate are proof that he shares our vision for creating satisfying, delicious meat directly from plants in an effort to benefit human health, the environment and animal welfare,” Ethan Brown, CEO of Beyond Meat, said in a press release.

“Leo was helpful early on in providing feedback on our burgers as we readied them for market. We will continue working together to ensure we develop excellent products that meet the highest standards in environmental friendliness.”

National Post