Why Robert Downey Jr. Just Invested In Plant-Based Meat Alternatives

Climate activists abound across the globe, but someone looking to put a face to the cause might turn to Swedish wunderkind Greta Thunberg. And we can't dismiss teen-heartthrob-turned-biodiversity-evangelist Leonardo DiCaprio, who was named the United Nations Messenger of Peace for Climate Change in 2014 (via The BBC) and has since helmed a string of documentaries — not to mention a Netflix feature film — about the preventable demise of our planet. 

But Leo isn't the only movie star dedicating his time to climate justice on and off the screen. The charmingly mischievous "Iron Man" lead Robert Downey Jr. has also been using his platform to shed light on the multifaceted crisis, and we're not even referring to his new unscripted project on Discovery+ that, per The Hollywood Reporter, will see the star and his team replacing classic car engines with eco-friendly versions. We're talking about his company FootPrint Coalition Ventures, a group of "investors, donors, and storytellers committed to scaling technologies to restore our planet." Per a press release, FootPrint just invested in Motif FoodWorks, a company that makes plant-based meat alternatives.  

Robert Downey Jr. on making sustainable eating 'delicious and nutritious'

"If plant-based foods are going to make a real impact on sustainability, we need an approach that's both delicious and nutritious," said Robert Downey Jr. in Wednesday's announcement. By investing in the Boston-based plant-based foods company Motif FoodWorks, the actor hopes to encourage people to swap out mass-produced animal products for ones that take a lesser toll on the environment.

According to its website, Motif FoodWorks is composed of "seasoned professionals" bent on "reinventing the way science is applied to make plant-based foods better tasting, more nutritious and more sustainable." In addition to supporting its current products, Downey Jr.'s investment will also allow the company to create a new line of "new-to-the-world plant-based food forms," which will be sold to "foodservice providers, distributors, and retailers with private labels." 

By using a technology they call "Hemami," Motif claims to have "unlocked a step-change in what's possible in meat alternatives" by mimicking the umami flavor of actual meat. Since texture can make or break a plant-based product — especially for those making the initial switch — the company also uses what they call "Appetex," which uses plant proteins to recreate the "juicy chewdown" of animal tissue. "We're focused on making our customer's plant-based foods so desirable that people actually crave them," said Motif CEO Jonathan McIntyre. The company's new line is still in the works, but its Motif MoBeef, Motif MoPork, and Motif MoChicken Plant-Based Burger Patties are available now.