Beyond Meat CEO Reveals Vegan Steak Will Be Available This Year
Shoppers can visit any grocery store and find plant-based alternatives to nearly every conventional meat product available. And a significant amount of credit can be attributed to Beyond Meat. Now, the California-based company plans to tackle one of the final frontiers of the vegan meat industry: steak. During The Wall Street Journal’s Global Food Forum this week, Beyond’s CEO Ethan Brown revealed that a whole-cut vegan steak will be available by the end of the year.
Brown revealed that Beyond’s vegan steak production is well on its way to completion and eventual commercialization. The entrepreneur claimed that “It’s probably one of our best products to date,” during the conference. The vegan steak will join Beyond’s selection of plant-based chicken, pork, and beef products.
Beyond intends to revitalize the company’s current market standings with its innovative sliced steak product. The sliced steak will be the company’s first meat alternative to replicate whole pieces of meat whereas the other food offerings include tenders, burger patties, meatballs, and others. Brown told the WSJ that Beyond will initially release the sliced steak through retailers before entering foodservice locations.
“The reasons to do what we’re doing and the reason for the consumer to engage with what we’re doing strengthens every day,” Brown said. “There’s the pandemic. There’s [the] recession. There’s [the] gas prices. There’s all this noise out there, but what continues to strengthen is the need to do what we’re doing.
"We’re getting better at that every year and with reason to do it in terms of climate, human health, the overall environment (land, energy, and water), and animal welfare … all those reasons continue to be present and increase in importance.”
Beyond Meat’s Stock Market Prices Stall
Since Beyond’s stock market high, the plant-based food company’s value has fallen nearly 43 percent in the last five years. Currently valued at $24.25, the food-tech company is far off from its record high at $234.90 per share. The stall in Beyond’s growth, however, fails to deter either Brown or the entire company from pushing plant-based development further. Over recent months, the company has pushed rebranding, increased food service partnerships, and even enlisted Kim Kardashian as its new Chief Taste Officer.
“You’re going to have disturbances and you’re going to have distractions as you build a new category,” Brown said. “You go for a long run. You take a plateau. You go for another long run and then all of a sudden it’s mainstream. That’s what’s happening in [the plant-based] sector.”
Expanding Into New Plant-Based Frontiers
Beyond’s stock market slowdown is not stopping the company from innovating the plant-based sector. This April, the company announced that its signature Beyond Meat Tenders would become available at 8,000 more stores in the coming months. The retail expansion started this April, making the vegan tenders more widely available at CVS, Kroger, Sprouts, Whole Foods, and Albertsons locations nationwide.
This year, Beyond also partnered with PepsiCo to formulate the Planet Partnership, announcing the jointly branded Beyond Jerky – a beef jerky alternative made from mung beans and pea. These product developments also accompany the brand’s increasing presence in fast-food. Beyond has teamed up with Panda Express to release three vegan food items and McDonald’s to create the meatless McPlant burger.
“What I see is an increasing global opportunity into a $1.4 trillion market,” Brown said. “All of these things are about building the next global protein company. And my vision for this is a $40 billion company, not a $4 billion company. So I don’t think in quarterly terms. I don’t think in annual terms. I think in a longer-term perspective we will deliver on this. I am absolutely certain of that.”
It is no surprise that Beyond is working on several plant-based alternatives, because last August, the company filed for 108 trademarks including Beyond Seafood, Beyond Milk, Beyond Tuna, and more. The trademarks indicate that the company might have much more up its sleeve than Beyond Steak.
Vegan Steak is Already Here
While Brown showed enthusiasm about bringing vegan steak to consumers, another company beat Beyond Meat to the punch. The Israeli food-tech company Redefine Meat developed a 3-D printed steak made completely from plants. The proprietary technology used to create this steak alternative threads together plant-protein fibers to replicate the texture and look of whole-cut meats. The product even caught the attention of esteemed chef Marco Pierre White, who introduced the steaks to his UK restaurants.
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