Clever Carnivore Names Russell Thomas VP of Product Development

33-year food science veteran from Tyson Foods joins Chicago cultivated meat startup

May 16, 2023 12:15 PM Eastern Daylight Time

CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Clever Bratwurst is one bite closer to your grocer’s meat department.

“Russell’s experience as director of research and development at Tyson is a huge asset to Clever Carnivore as we aim to unveil our prototype product later this year”Post this

Clever Carnivore, a Chicago-based biotech startup working to bring cultivated meat — pork, beef and chicken — to consumers, today announced Russell Thomas, MSc, has joined the team as vice president of product development. A triple-decade food scientist with expertise in food safety, product development and operations management, Thomas will accelerate the development of Clever Carnivore’s debut consumer product, the Clever Bratwurst.

“Russell’s experience as director of research and development at Tyson is a huge asset to Clever Carnivore as we aim to unveil our prototype product later this year,” said Clever Carnivore CEO Virginia Rangos, Ph.D.

Thomas’ resume includes a bachelor’s in animal science and business and a master’s in poultry science and product technology from the University of Arkansas. Most recently, Thomas served as vice president of product development with a Silicon Valley cultivated fat company founded in late 2010.

Prior to that, during Thomas’ more than 33 years at Tyson Foods, one of the largest food companies in the U.S., he served as manager, then director of research and development.

Thomas’ hiring represents a milestone for Clever Carnivore. The addition of an experienced executive with demonstrated success bringing innovative products to the global market propels Clever Carnivore into the exciting prototype development stage. Leveraging his decades of accomplishments in the food sciences, Thomas will spearhead the creation of a delicious, accessible product line — starting with sausages.

“I’m excited about joining Clever Carnivore,” said Thomas. “I entered the food industry more than three decades ago because I believe there’s no greater way to serve humanity than by working to provide accessible, sustainable food to people. The technology being developed by Clever Carnivore aligns with that mission.”

Clever Carnivore has been focused on scaling meat production and bringing costs down — producing high-quality pork at consumer-ready prices. With Thomas on the team, the company is ready to start turning pork into bratwurst. Clever Carnivore’s cost and scale advantages put Thomas on track to cook up something delicious.

Clever Carnivore’s headquarters and lab are located in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. Thomas’ appointment is effective immediately.

About Clever Carnivore

Clever Carnivore, Chicago’s first cultivated meat company, is a mission-driven startup deploying cutting-edge biotechnology to bring low-cost, top-quality cultivated pork, beef and chicken to the consumer market. Using Clever Carnivore’s high-efficiency model, cruelty-free, sustainable and cost-competitive sausages, burgers and chicken nuggets will soon be a reality. The company works to develop cultivated meat products using cell biology, recombinant protein technology and advanced bioreactor design, with the objective of creating consumer products that compete on taste, price and convenience with conventional meat, delivering a gastronomic experience that satisfies vegetarians and carnivores alike.

To learn more about Clever Carnivore’s work to bring sustainable, affordable cultivated meat to market and to receive updates on our progress and employment opportunities, please visit and follow us on LinkedInTwitter and Instagram.


Kaitlin Grady
Director of strategic partnerships and public affairs