The vegan meat market could be worth more than $40 billion within the next decade, according to industry analysts. And it’s due in large part to Beyond Meat’s recent IPO. That’s a 4,000 percent increase over its current value of around $1 billion.
The California-based vegan meat company went public last Thursday, closing its first day up more than 163 percent. Beyond Meat, which is listed on Nasdaq as BYND, saw prices climb up more than 200 percent already this week to nearly $80 per share in early trading.
Beyond Meat produces realistic burgers, ground beef, and sausages from plants. It’s earned a largely non-vegan fanbase — founder Ethan Brown says 93 percent of its customers are flexitarians — consumers seeking to switch up their protein for health and environmental reasons.
The company, which had the largest IPO in the U.S. in nearly 20 years, saw its valuation leap from $1.2 billion to more than $3.8 billion. And that spike seems to be carrying over to the vegan meat industry at large as well.
The Vegan Meat Market
“While the company is facing competition from the likes of Impossible Foods, rising consumer demand should allow multiple brands to share the market, Bernstein analyst Alexia Howard noted, pointing to other factors as well, including fears over rising meat prices connected to issues like the swine fever outbreak in China.
Competitors are emerging — its main rival Impossible Foods snagged a major milestone last month with the launch of the Impossible Whopper at Burger King. A successful trial in Missouri led to a national roll-out. The burger may also soon head to Canadian Burger King locations.
One of Beyond Meat’s early investors, meat giant Tyson Foods, divested just ahead of the IPO. According to Tyson, Beyond Meat didn’t want an investor who is also a competitor. Tyson plans to launch its own vegan meat range this summer.
“All of this is indicative of a public that is very, very excited about seeing meat produced from plants,” Bruce Friedrich, executive director of the Good Food Institute, a nonprofit that focuses on the industry, told Fast Company. “There is overwhelming interest from investors in both the plant-based meat and ‘clean meat’ spaces.”
Beyond Meat Sales
Beyond Meat says it’s working toward making its vegan meat options cheaper than traditional animal products. It’s already disrupting meat sales by requiring retail partners to merchandise the vegan burgers, beef, and sausage in the meat aisle. And according to company founder Ethan Brown, “[t]here’s no reason [plant based protein] shouldn’t be cheaper than meat.”
The secret to Beyond Meat’s success — and the industry riding in its wake — may be in Brown’s philosophy that there’s no secret to making meat from plants.
“This is fundamentally an issue of rethinking what a plant-based burger is,” Friedrich said.
“There’s no mystery to meat,” Brown told the BBC last year. “It’s amino acids, lipids, trace minerals and water. And if you can deliver those four things in the same blueprint or architecture as muscle – why can’t that be called meat?”
There’s also no mystery to the brand’s success.
The Beyond Burger has been a golden ticket for restaurants and supermarkets. A&W, which launched the burger in Canada last year, reported a 10 percent spike in sales after its launch. The burger patty also outperformed traditional beef sales in U.S. supermarket chain Ralph’s last year over a five-week period.
It’s not just North America seeing the spike, either. When Singapore launched the vegan burgers last year, they outsold beef burgers three to one.