Beyond Meat Will Become Cheaper than Animal Protein, Founder says


The plant-based meat company is closing in on a $10 billion market cap.

Founder and CEO Ethan Brown told Yahoo Finance that he is focusing on lowering the price of his plant-based meat to augment accessibility and volume of the products. 18 months ago, Beyond Meat set the goal of underpricing animal proteins within five years. New value packs are already in stores. 

COVID-19 brought disruption to the animal protein markets, presenting an opportunity to set comparable prices. Brown’s products are now within the price of about 20% of beef patties in the supermarket. 

As Beyond Meat increases scale of production, it gains direct material and labor benefits. “There's no material obstacle to us being able to, over the long run, under-price animal protein,” Brown says. The company goes straight to production of the meat on the plant, so higher prices are due to scale, not production efficiency. 

Production is ramping up, with a new facility in Europe and upcoming investments in personnel and infrastructure in China. As volumes increase, Beyond Meat will be able to revisit lower prices and nutritional benefits. Brown intends to deliver the “good stuff,” like protein and iron, while eliminating the “bad stuff.” The trinity of benefits consists of comparable taste, superior nutrition, and lower price, incentivizing Beyond Meat purchases instead of animal protein. 

The coronavirus pandemic led to consumer insight into how their food is made when the news covered the virus’ spread at processing facilities. Beyond Meat provides an alternative process, juxtaposed with the crowded conditions and health risks in animal meat facilities. The plant-based product can be produced with more spatial advantage and by fewer workers.

Brown addresses the demand for “great tasting, affordable protein,” and “it's simply being made out of plants, not an animal.” Notably, younger consumers demand these products, reflecting the future of the food marketbase. 

As a growth company, Beyond Meat embodies the entrepreneurial spirit. However, the pandemic environment poses risks to such quick actions. The company shut down its research center, minimized workers on each shift, and delayed launches and product rollouts. 

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Economics, Finance and Investing