What happened to Beyond Meat?

Plant-based meat sales have slowed amid inflation, health concerns, and company fumbles.

Beyond Meat was soaring when it went public in 2019.

Its faux-meats popped up in myriad restaurant and grocery chains, and at one point it reached a $10B+ valuation — though The Motley Fool cautioned it was overvalued.

But now? The hype is cooling

Beyond Meat shares have dropped ~83% this year while sales have stagnated, per The New York Times.

  • In October, it laid off 200 workers, or ~19% of its workforce.
  • The company lost four execs, including the COO, who was accused of biting a man’s nose during a fight.

Employees also told The Wall Street Journal that CEO Ethan Brown, who founded Beyond Meat in 2009, rushed timelines, resulting in wasted resources and unenthused customers.

But it’s not just Beyond Meat

Brazilian meatpacker JBS announced it would shutter its plant-based arm in October, while Kellogg’s Morningstar Farms has seen sales drop, reportedly over supply chain issues.

Also:

  • Amid inflation woes, plant-based meat is rarely cheaper than real meat.
  • It may be better for the environment, but it isn’t necessarily healthier — something meat lobbyists use in ads.

In the US, where ~5% of consumers identify as vegetarian, meat-eating has also become weirdly political.

Cracker Barrel was accused of being too “woke” for introducing plant-based sausage.

The hope for alt meats….

… may lie in cheaper, frozen products vs. refrigerated and fake chicken over beef or pork.

Impossible Foods claims sales are up 60% YoY, buoyed by those two categories.

Meanwhile, the FDA just approved the first cultivated meat in the US — Upside Foods’ cell-based chicken — meaning an entirely new option may be on the way.

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