(Updated May 26, 2019.) Major U.S. meat producer Tyson Foods will roll out a line of vegan products this summer, the company CEO Noel White told analysts on a recent call. The news comes after Tyson divested from vegan meat producer Beyond Meat just before the vegan meat company went public last week.
While White didn’t disclose much detail on the new products, the line is expected to be rival other plant-based protein options including Beyond Meat.
Tyson took a 5 percent stake in Beyond Meat in 2016 as the company was launching its signature product, the Beyond Burger. It invested again in 2017. But Beyond Meat asked the meat producer to plan an exit strategy after Tyson announced it would be creating its own vegan meat products.
The meat producer has been moving toward more vegan options in recent years. The company announced the launch of Green Street in 2018 a ready-to-eat range featuring vegan protein-rich bowls and meals.
The launch was an effort to adapt to “changing consumer demands,” the company explained.
“Consumers expect more from food companies today, and we’re up for the challenge,” Tom Hayes, president and CEO of Tyson Foods, said, calling vegan meat “an affordable, sustainable technology to leverage to help feed the world on a sustainable basis.”
According to CEO Noel White, the move could make Tyson’s vegan meat division a “billion-dollar brand,” Drovers reported.
Vegan Meat Demand
Vegan meat is in high demand as consumers are seeking healthier and more sustainable options.
In the U.S. alone, the vegan meat market is expected to reach $2.5 billion by 2023.
Beyond Meat’s IPO last week was the largest in the U.S. in nearly 20 years. Share prices jumped 163 percent on opening day. The company’s valuation went from $1.2 billion to more than $3.8 billion.
The Southern California startup has seen widespread interest in its vegan burgers and beef. It’s now served at locations including TGI Fridays, Carl’s Jr. and A&W.
Last month Burger King launched the Impossible Whopper made with the vegan Impossible burger patty, Beyond Meat’s largest current competitor in the space. But brands like Tyson are not far behind.
“We’re combining our size and scale with agility to make food people want to eat,” Hayes said. “That’s driving our business and helping us deliver top-tier returns for shareholders.”