Getting Beyond, “Beyond Meat”

NOTE: By the accidents of love, family & history, there are four generations of my kinfolk now living near enough to crowd occasionally into our compact living room.

Here are three of the four generations, experiencing cultural transmission.

Such assemblies always prompt reflections, from the cosmic to, well, the comestible. And one recent recurring internal query has been: how many of the younger tier will reach adulthood still eating meat, in particular, beef?

I’m no vegetarian, but hardly ever buy beef. My eldest, not shown above, eats a lot less than formerly. No high principle here; cost and calories loom larger. As the youngest sisters mature, the price of beef seems likely to increase, a lot, especially as water, its main input, becomes scarcer and more precious. Burgers may become the rare gourmet indulgence.

So can technology deliver them acceptable, affordable substitutes? It’s trying, and I’ve given it a chance.

But . . . . There’s a bag of Beyond Meat “burgers” in my freezer, opened but languishing. In our micro-mini home field test, the verdict on them was a resounding: “Meh”: not awful, but not memorable or appealing.

As one analyst in the report below more ponderously put it: “Recruiting your next phase of consumers requires more innovation and better tasting products.” Took the words (except “better tasting”) right out of my keyboard, on a prolix day.

It seems Wall Street is also ready to pass on these patties; back to the lab, all ye in the white coats.

Reuters – Beyond Meat sales under threat as plant-based boom withers

Praveen Paramasivam — Aug 3 2022
(Reuters) – Beyond Meat Inc BYND.O is headed for an unappetizing second quarter as the plant-based food craze withers in the face of several weak product tests at restaurants and mediocre reviews.
Analysts have slashed forecasts for Beyond Meat’s sales on supply-chain concerns and waning demand that pulled down shares of the plant-based meat maker and peer Oatly Group AB OTLY.O from their lofty market debut levels.

“Part of the issue with the adoption of the category for new consumers is that you’re not going to change cultural tastes overnight,” Mizuho analyst John Baumgartner said. “Recruiting your next phase of consumers requires more innovation and better tasting products.”

Estimates for Beyond Meat’s second-quarter revenue have fallen by 10% over the last three months, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

McDonald’s Corp MCD.N last week became the latest chain to not go through with an immediate broader launch of Beyond Meat products, after concluding its U.S. test of a burger made with the plant-based meat without confirming future plans.

Tests at Panda Express and Yum Brands Inc’s YUM.N KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell have also yet to lead to a permanent or U.S.-wide launch, while Dunkin, Hardee’s and A&W have discontinued products after launching, according to brokerage Piper Sandler.
Reviews for Beyond Meat’s plant-based jerky also indicate skepticism about the taste of the product, stoking concerns about the sustainability of its sales momentum, Piper Sandler analyst Michael Lavery wrote in a note on Friday.

The company has had to discount more to encourage inflation-hit consumers to pick up its products over those of competitors at grocers, leading analysts to say its expectation for average revenue growth of 27% for 2022 now appears steep.

* Beyond Meat is expected to post a marginal increase in revenue for the second quarter, when it reports on Thursday, with loss per share widening to $1.18.

* Wall Street expects Beyond Meat to lose $4.48 per share for 2022, much bigger than the $2.88 it expected on April 27, when the company reported results for the first quarter.

10 thoughts on “Getting Beyond, “Beyond Meat””

  1. I’m no vegetarian either. I’m an over privileged indulgent carnivore. But I’ve had periods of being vegetarian when my children were doing that. I’ve found vegetarian food and cooking to be delicious and uncomplicated. I have no interest in the beyond meat industry. Maybe it’s a necessary transition to help our society cut way back on CAFO’s and factory farming.

  2. Fake meat- trying to replicate animal flesh with engineered and plant ingredients – is a poor version of a meat-free diet.
    Veggie burgers, veg sausages, lentil Or bean stew do it for me. But I do like a little bit of cheese and yoghurt now and then.

    1. I don’t include dairy and eggs in the same category with meat. I think dairy and egg production.are more possible to conduct sustainably. I’m ready and willing to stand corrected if I am wrong.

      1. The worst egg production is “caged hens”. The poor things can barely turn around and peck at see through a hole no bigger than their neck.
        Check Animals Australia for a good website.

        1. But the old animals could be used – ground beef, bone broth, soup, stew, pet food. I’m not sure who would do all that in a productive way. But it does seem possible in the more sustainable less growth oriented world we may be needing.

  3. Beef is one of the most nutrient dense foods we can eat, with those nutrients in a bioavailable form. You get a LOT more for each dollar, or penny, than from the less expensive fake stuff. All protein is not equal, far from it. Fake meats are an extreme form of processed foods, and worse than most.

    Check locally; more farmers are selling direct to customers, and their meat tends to be raised without the hormones and antibiotics.
    Even small portions can make a big difference in children’s development.
    This is truly a case of – you can’t improve on mother nature.
    Sustainably raised beef combats climate change and sequesters carbon, contrary to what They would have you believe. Pasture raised beef depends on rainfall for its water needs, rain that will fall whether there are cows or not. Rangeland is land not suitable for raising crops; the grass there is something we humans cannot eat. Add cows and you end up with nutritious food for people!
    Vegetarian dishes can be delicious, and nondairy foods necessary for those with food allergies. But highly processed fake foods are nutritionally and ecologically unsound, with huge costs to human and planet health and our pocketbooks.

  4. Well said, Valerie. I agree 100 per cent. We just need to pressure our government to stop spending on weapons and military destruction and begin to provide this kind of healthy food as well as housing, education and healthcare for everyone. Forgive me for blatantly expanding this discussion. I couldn’t help it. 🙃

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