Clever Carnivore Names Russell Thomas VP of Product Development

May 16, 2023 - 3 min read

  • 33-year food science veteran from Tyson Foods joins Chicago cultivated meat startup
  • The Clever Bratwurst is one bite closer to your grocer’s meat department

CHICAGO — May 16, 2023 — 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. 

EDITORS’ NOTE: A photo of Russell Thomas, vice present of product development of Clever Carnivore, is embedded in this news release. A high-res image is available upon request.  

**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 LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram

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