What is Beyond Meat? The revolutionary vegetarian company

Beyond Meat Company

Beyond Meat is a Los Angeles-based producer of plant-based meat substitutes, founded in 2009 by Ethan Brown. The company’s initial products became available in the United States in 2012. The company has products designed to simulate chicken, beef and pork sausages. As of 2020, Beyond products are widely available in most US grocery stores, with the company’s website listing availability in more than 60 chain restaurants and places such as stadiums and college cafeterias.


The company was founded as a California-based startup by Ethan Brown in 2009. The company received venture funding from GreatPoint Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, Obvious Corporation, Bill Gates, Biz Stone, Humane Society, and Tyson Foods. The company began selling its plant-based “chicken” products in Whole Foods supermarkets in the United States in April 2013. In 2014, it developed a simulated meat product.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals named Beyond Meat their 2013 company of the year.

Beyond hamburger packaging

In 2014, Beyond Meat expanded its presence from 1,500 to 6,000 stores in the United States.

Ethan Brown during Beyond Meat's initial public offering
Ethan Brown (center and beard) during Beyond Meat’s initial public offering on Nasdaq in May 2019

Tyson Foods bought a 5% stake in Beyond Meat in October 2016. It then sold its 6.5% stake and exited the investment in April 2019, ahead of the company’s initial public offering.

In June 2018, Beyond Meat opened its second production facility in Columbia, Missouri, resulting in a threefold increase in the company’s manufacturing space. The company also claimed to have 27,000 different distribution points for its products in the United States. As of July, the company was rolling out its products in 50 international markets, partnering with Tesco in the UK and Tim Hortons and A&W in Canada. In July 2019, Dunkin’ Donuts announced that they would begin selling breakfast sandwiches using Beyond Meat’s Meatless Sausage product in Manhattan, with plans for national distribution beginning November 6, 2019.

As of July 2019, Beyond Meat had a market value of $11.7 billion, after a $3.8 billion value the company had on the day of its initial public offering, May 2, 2019. Currently Beyond Meat is listed on the NASDAQ technology stock exchange in the United States under the symbol BYND.

Also read: 5 Myths About Food and Nutrition

Beyond Meat Products

Beyond Meat develops and manufactures a variety of protein-based food products. Vegan meat substitutes are made from blends of pea protein isolate, rice protein, mung bean protein, canola oil, coconut oil, and other ingredients such as potato starch, apple extract, sunflower lecithin, and powder. pomegranate with a range of vitamins and minerals. Meat products that “bleed” is achieved by using red beet juice.

The One Beyond Meat Burger contains 270 calories and 5 grams of saturated fat. The nutritional value of the hamburger varies depending on the restaurant chain in which it is served.

The meat substitute ingredients are mixed together and fed into a food extrusion machine that cooks the mixture while forcing it through a specially designed mechanism that uses steam, pressure and cold water to form the chicken-like texture of the product. .

As of 2014, the company’s product offering consisted of Beyond Chicken and Beyond Beef.

The company’s two flavors of imitation ground beef are made from pea protein, canola oil and various seasonings. The company announced in 2014 that it had begun development and testing of a new product called “The Beast.” The plant-based protein burgers were tested by players of the New York Mets baseball team during a pre-game event.

“The Beast” branded soy-free “meat” vegan burgers launched in February 2015. The Beast Burger contained 23 grams of protein and had micronutrients added during manufacturing.

In December 2017, the company announced a vegan alternative to pork sausage called “Beyond Sausage”. The three varieties of “sausages” were called Bratwurst, Hot Italian, and Sweet Italian. As of July 2019, the company was producing plant-based products for hamburgers, beef, meat crumbs, and sausage.

Also read: How to increase the consumption of healthy foods?


According to a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of the University of Michigan Beyond Burger, the Beyond Burger generates 90% fewer greenhouse gas emissions, requires 46% less energy, has >99% less impact on water scarcity and 93% less impact on land use than ¼ pound of US beef.

In September 2018, Beyond Meat received the 2018 Champion of the Earth’s Environment Award from the United Nations. This sought to recognize the company’s sustainability efforts beyond the product, such as swapping out plastic packaging trays for compostable trays for use in its Beyond Sausage.


In July 2018, Beyond Meat opened a new Research and Development lab in El Segundo, California. The 26,000-square-foot facility is an investment in building plant-based meat. The research and development center houses almost 100 employees who work in eight different laboratories.

Also in July 2018, Beyond Meat obtained certification for products without genetically modified organisms through the Non-GMO Project. The independent organization conducted a year-long review of the brand to ensure that all ingredients, suppliers and manufacturing facilities are free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Beyond Meat uses technology to take plant materials and put them through a system of heating, cooling, pressing and mixing to produce meat directly from plants.

Other company developments

In March 2019, his former business partner, Don Lee Farms, filed a civil lawsuit against Beyond Meat, after Beyond Meat switched to using different vendors for its products. Don Lee Farms alleged a breach of contract and further alleged that they had raised “significant concerns” about food safety protocols at Beyond Meat’s facility.

In June 2019, New Zealand restaurant Hell Pizza used the company’s product for a “burger pizza” without disclosing that its “medium rare burger” was not meat. The local Ministry of Primary Industries launched an investigation after several complaints and concluded that the description of the product did not comply with the food standards code, but refused to take formal action against the company.

In September 2020, the company rallied to a 52-week high on the stock market after a press release touted a previously announced distribution deal with Dow Jones index company Walmart Inc. (WMT ). The plant-based meat maker at the time was tripling distribution of the popular Beyond Burger to more than 2,400 stores across the United States and bringing the Beyond Breakfast Sausage to more than 2,200 stores. Beyond is the best-selling brand of “fully chilled plant-based meat,” according to a recent industry survey.

The news of the Walmart deal follows that of expansion deals with The Kroger Co., Target Corporation and other big chains, which ensure a strong growth curve in 2021 and beyond. Investors have taken note, more than triple Beyond Meat’s share price since March 2020, when a sharp drop ended within three points of the all-time low at $40, posted during the May IPO. of 2019. Beyond Meat is now well-positioned for further gains, which could eventually hit the July 2019 all-time high of $239.71. The maximum price of the company has been 187 dollars on October 19, 2019.

Also read: How much to invest if you want to have a food and beverage business?

Beyond Meat’s meat ingredients

On June 7, 2019, a Business Insider article revealed that the company used at least 22 ingredients to replicate the taste and texture of regular meat. This was detailed by Business Insider in its article:

However, the plant-based burger uses more than a few vegetables to recreate the flavor of a classic, bloody burger.

“If you look at it long enough from different angles and as much as you can, you start to understand that meat is knowable and material,” Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown told Business Insider following the company’s explosive IPO in May 2019.

“It’s essentially these five things. They are amino acids, lipids, trace minerals, trace vitamins, and water,” Brown continued. “None of them is exclusively the animal. They are all present in the plant kingdom.

With Beyond Meat, Brown has worked to find these five elements in plants and use them to perfectly replicate the texture, flavor and experience of eating meat.

For the company’s most famous product, the Beyond Burger, this is no easy task, requiring 22 ingredients.

Here’s what’s at Beyond Burger:

Pea protein isolate
Expeller-pressed canola
oil Refined coconut oil

The Beyond Burger also contains 2% or less of:

Bamboo Cellulose
Potato Starch
Natural Flavor
Yeast Extract
Sunflower Oil
Vegetable Glycerin
Dry Yeast
Gum Arabic
Citrus Extract (to protect quality)
Ascorbic Acid (to maintain color)
Beet Juice Extract (for color)
Acid Acetic
Acid Succinic Acid
Modified Food Starch
Annatto (for color)

According to Brown, this recipe is not set in stone, as Beyond Meat continues to innovate and improve their products.

Ultimately , Beyond Meat wants to create the “perfect replication” of meat products. Right now, Brown said, the company is about 70% of the way there.

“Rather than worrying about the competition, I’m concerned with how we make products that we currently have on the shelf obsolete by improving them,” Brown said.

The Challenges of Beyond Meat

The news network CNN presented 2019 a review of the financial and commercial challenges of Beyond Meat. We leave the review in the following video:https://www.youtube.com/embed/ab5OHK2qt9U

Sustainability and the future of Beyond

Beyond Meat has a great future ahead of it, as animal protein-based products lose popularity and become less environmentally sustainable. However, the company still has a long way to go and will surely need to think about how to make its products more affordable to a wider audience at competitive prices. And she is not alone on this path, companies such as Impossible Foods have already been working for some time on meat substitutes very similar in taste and texture to normal meat, while several public and private laboratories are working on the development of meat 100 % real, with ingredients based on animal protein, but that is grown in the laboratory with much less water, supplies and less time.

It is certain that it will be a while yet before meat substitutes are the norm in the global diet. However, the fact that Beyond Meat is already on the list of players in this market positions the company to be one of the big winners in the transition to the new food.

Impossible Foods vs Beyond Meat

Beyond Meat Burger
Beyond Meat Burger

As we’ve already mentioned, Impossible Foods is Beyond Meat’s main competitor. Both companies produce great meat substitutes and both have gained great recognition among the public. But what makes each of these companies stand out differently in the market? Here we explain it to you.

Genetically Modified vs Non-Genetically Modified

Which company has the best-tasting product? The answer is subjective. However, if you’re leaning towards the Impossible Burger, there’s a scientific reason for that. It contains a molecule called heme, which is found naturally in food and essentially tells our brains that we’re eating meat.

There’s a catch: To get enough heme, Impossible Foods genetically engineers heme by inserting soybean DNA into engineered yeast. That sounds very futuristic, and Impossible Foods scientific advisor Dr. Michael Eisen makes a strong case for eating GM foods without fear. However, GM foods are viewed negatively by a significant segment of the population.

In a guest appearance on the Eat for the Planet podcast, Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown said, “We made a very conscious decision not to use the plant genetic modification process to produce heme.” It is part of the company’s mission to build consumer confidence by eliminating ingredients with negative perceptions.

Beyond Meat products do not contain genetically modified ingredients. Rather, Impossible Foods actively pursues them to make their fake meat more “meaty.” Therefore, Beyond Meat could appeal more to the health-conscious consumer. But their aversion to GMOs could also leave their products behind Impossible Foods in taste tests.

The product portfolio

Beyond meat and impossible foods, each company has more than 100 people working on innovation developments, including scientists, who work in their respective research and development departments. These teams delve into the biochemistry of meat and look for ways to make their products mimic the real thing.

In an interview with food news website The Spoon, Impossible Foods CEO Pat Brown said, “The next categorically new product that we’re launching is going to be like a beef steak for sure.” His reasoning for looking for steak is simple: His company is small, with limited resources and scale. Therefore, he prefers to solve the problem to the greatest possible advantage, even though he is a tough nut to crack.

The CEO of Beyond Meat would also love to launch a steak as it has that “wow” factor. But his top priority is to price his meat-alternative products below the price of real meat, and that is achieved with the scale of increased production. The most logical products to scale production are the meats that consumers consume the most. But Beyond Meat continues to focus on innovating across its three core platforms: beef, pork and poultry.

Chicken-flavored meal replacements are likely to be a big area of ​​focus in the future. Two University of Missouri scientists developed a process to produce plant-based chicken with realistic texture, and Beyond Meat helped commercialize it. But the product was pulled last year when Beyond Burger took off in full force, and the team went back to the drawing board to improve the recipe.

As a private company, Impossible Foods can take the risk of producing a steak substitute whose texture is difficult to replicate. But a public company like Beyond Meat needs to focus on innovation that can be brought to market the fastest right now. They already have a decade of experience with a chicken substitute, and they conducted new tests with Yum! KFC of brands in the last year. This makes the most sense for Beyond Meat, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see it relaunch Beyond Chicken in some form soon.


In January 2020, Impossible Foods told Reuters it could not enter into a partnership with McDonald’s because it was unable to meet potential demand. We don’t know how much the company can produce, or how much McDonald’s would want. And we don’t really know what Beyond Meat is capable of either. But we do know that Beyond Meat is still looking for the world’s largest restaurant chain, which suggests it has the scale.

Shares of Beyond Meat recently fell after its lawsuit with McDonald’s in Canada expired. Some believe it signals the end, but there may be a simpler explanation: a global pandemic (such as the coronavirus in 2020) is not a good time to launch new menu items. In fact, McDonald’s cut regular menu items during the coronavirus to reduce operational complexity.

McDonald’s may launch a plant-based burger when its business normalizes. When that happens, Beyond Meat may still be the best candidate for a partnership due to the great infrastructure it already has, making it a good growth stock to watch.

Recent Beyond Meat Developments

Beyond Meat Pizza Hut
Beyond Meat partners with Pizza Hut to add its plant-based meat to the fast-food giant’s traditional pizzas.

In November 2020 it was indicated that McDonald’s would waive a deal with Beyond Meat to launch an all-veggie burger on its menu. Instead, the American fast food giant announced that it would be launching McPlant, a vegetable burger that is presented as a substitute for traditional burgers. Despite McDonald’s announcements, Beyond Meat indicated that it had collaborated on the McDonald’s project, adding confusion to the idea of ​​whether the companies have teamed up for the project or broken their business alliance. McDonald’s move in favor of McPlant comes after the company had tested a plant-based burger with relative success in the Canadian market and Burger King announced its Rebel Whopper, a plant-based burger, in 2019.

As a consequence of the confusing announcements by Beyond Meat in its relationship with McDonald’s, the company had mixed growth during the month of November 2020, with the shares on something of a roller coaster. The share price ended at about $142, after reaching $193 during the month of October.

Pizza Hut for its part has also indicated that it would be launching a vegan pizza in association with Beyond Meat. The announcement was made official on November 10 on the CNN news network. In the same month of November 2020, the business magazine FastCompany highlighted in a review the great potential of Beyond Meat within this market. Mark Wilson, a commentator for the magazine, took it upon himself to try Pizza Hut’s Beyond Meat pizza. Wilson stated that the Pizza was really good and could easily replace the traditional meat Pizzas on the Pizza Hut menus. In reviewing him Wilson noted:“The texture is a touch drier than regular sausage, with a borderline crisp exterior that has been browned in a high-temperature oven. (I wish I had had a blind tasting to find out if he would have caught the change.) But it’s as decadent as eating real pork on a Pizza Hut pizza. The sausage has a strong hint of seasoning that is safe enough to contrast the layer of cheese and dough, rather than trying to fade into the background.

What I’m saying is that Beyond Italian Sausage Pizza feels like a perfect execution of Pizza Hut’s brand flavor, thanks in no small part to Pizza Hut’s cheese and pan flavor, you know, although it does have vegan meat on top instead of one made of pork.”

Agreement with McDonald’s and other franchises

McDonald’s burger with Beyond Meat meat substitutes.

On February 26, 2021, after much speculation surrounding developments regarding a possible partnership with McDonald’s, the company announced that it had entered into an agreement to be the primary supplier of plant-based meat for both McDonald’s and franchises like KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut. The announcement that was reproduced on Business Insider ended months of speculation that had caused Beyond Meat’s stock to remain stagnant. While the stock hasn’t recovered after its November 2020 slump, after it peaked in October of that year, the stock did see a rebound in January, with the company’s new deals expected to provide more incentives for investors to buy the company’s shares.

The agreements reached by Beyond Meat with McDonald’s, Yum! and other franchises guarantee that the company will be the main supplier of these companies for at least three years. With 2020 marking a steep downturn for Beyond Meat amid the coronavirus pandemic, the company is expected to bounce back as the US economy emerges from the economic downturn and people are able to start eating out with a higher frequency.

One of the elements that has been highlighted after the agreement with the franchises is that the demand for “vegetable meat” has increased due to a greater awareness regarding the consumption of meat and the impact it has on the environment.

One of the star products of this new partnership between McDonald’s and Beyond Meat is the McPlant hamburger, which is already reaching various markets around the world. With the agreement between the two companies, the scope is expected to be worldwide. However, the companies announced that they do not want to reduce their offer to just one type of burger, which makes it plausible that new menus would come into play that would include plant-based chicken or pork substitutes.

With the agreement reached between the companies, Beyond Meat becomes the largest supplier of meat substitutes worldwide, although analysts expect that in the coming years new players will enter the market that can compete for a large portion of this growing market.

The coronavirus pandemic, for its part, dealt a heavy blow to the company, as investment expenses reached 3.7 million dollars, but international revenues had fallen by 16.5% in the first quarter of 2020. The sale of Beyond Meat products dropped significantly as the first two quarters of 2020 saw massive inventory write-offs.

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