Academy Award-winning actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio has invested in Neat Burger, a vegan fast-food chain co-founded by Formula One star Lewis Hamilton.
DiCaprio’s investment comes as Neat Burger gets ready for a US expansion. The chain currently has eight locations in London but will be opening a new store stateside later this year, in New York City.
After that, the plant-based burger chain hopes to open a further 14 stores in the US. Locations in Italy and the Middle East are also in the works, as well as a line of products for grocery store sale.
Neat Burger is all about changing the status quo in the food industry. Right now, the meat industry contributes to a multitude of environmental issues; it’s responsible for 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and is one of the world’s biggest drivers of deforestation.
But plant-based ingredients tend to leave a much smaller footprint. According to the Good Food Institute, plant-based meat production emits between 30 and 90 percent fewer greenhouse gases than conventional meat, for example.
Leonardo DiCaprio on changing the food system
DiCaprio is known for his commitment to environmentalism.
As well as Neat Burger, the actor has invested in a number of sustainable brands, including vegan snack company Hippeas. And in 2016, after winning the Best Actor Academy Award for his role in The Revenant, he seized the opportunity to talk about the climate crisis.
He said in his acceptance speech: “Climate change is real, it is happening right now, it is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating.”
The move had a big impact. The following day, Google searches for “climate change” rose 261 percent.
Now, DiCaprio says he is investing in Neat Burger to “disrupt the food system with sustainable alternatives.” He said in a statement: “[It’s] one of the key ways we can make a real difference in reducing global emissions.”
He went on to label Neat Burger’s approach to food as “pioneering,” and added that it’s a “great example of the type of solutions we need moving forward.”