In 2019 Beyond Meat® catapulted itself to make history as one of the largest IPO pops since 2000 for companies raising more than $200M. Fast forward to March 10, 2023 – shares are hovering around $16.75, which is higher than its 52-week low of $11.03 but also sits near 92% below it’s all time high of $234.90.
In part, this initial volatility and subsequent flatline has been attributed to the 2021 McDonald’s® McPlant burger selective-market pilot program that was discontinued in 2022 for the US, without a nationwide rollout. Although, McPlant has a permanent menu placement in the UK and Ireland, with plans for a double burger coming soon.
Investors, don’t bail just yet, the Beyond Meat® stock may have just turned a corner, according to The Motley Fool.
A report by Grand View Research estimates a 24.8 Billion Dollar Plant-Based Meat Market by 2030.
The consumer quest for improved health and environmental ethics has fueled projections, which continue to overshadow performance. Still, we witness the rising inclination of consumers to step out of their comfort zone into plant-based alternatives. There is an upward trend from plant-focused to flexitarian, pescatarian, vegetarian, and vegan diets despite the evergreen keto, carnivore, and low-carb craze.
There is a slight shift occurring towards an environmentally responsive diet. This may mean, for some, to simply consume less animal products and lean into plant-focused lifestyles that aim for environmental responsibility, regardless of whether that is perceived or factual, it provides a sense of global consciousness inclusion. Inclusion is an innate part of our psychological makeup and that is exactly what the plant-based players are betting on. Not to be outdone, the big meat companies are swooping in to hedge their bets. Larger meat centric companies like Tyson, Smithfield, and Hormel are all getting in the game with a wide variety of plant-based offerings.
Popular Plant-based Players
- Beyond Meat
- Impossible Foods
- Gardein Protein International
- Morningstar Farms
- Quorn Foods
- Maple Leaf Foods
- Amy’s Kitchen
With market growth and competition, improvements are inevitable, having surpassed anything imaginable ten years ago, this has made the transition from animal products to plant-based palatable. Long gone are the days of perfume notes and cardboard consistencies, today’s meat alternatives are tasty and the texture, in some cases, is nearly indistinguishable from their counterparts.
Monopolizing the plant-based ingredient list of yesteryear were soy, pea, and other legumes. Currently, it appears wheat is making a renewed debut in a slightly different composition than its older Seitan a.k.a. wheat gluten offerings. Several companies are blending grains like quinoa, amaranth, millet, and wheat, with soy and pea proteins. The criteria for quality plant-based products has changed as consumers are made more aware, they are demanding improvements in taste, texture, aroma, nutrient profiles, and even environmental footprint transparency.
Consumer awareness, along with strides in technology and techniques all converge to drive global market expansion, thus leading to higher standards, as fast food and quick-serve giants demanding quality, have committed to the trend long-term. Fast casual and casual are not far behind, adding plant-based options at lightning speed. Fine dining will likely crawl to the table, replacing cauliflower steaks and vegan pastas at a much slower rate, letting their casual dining sister brands test the waters first.
Everything in life has opposition and the plant-based market may have a slightly higher rate of defined sides of all-in verses against, in addition to the fence riders and the I don’t care population, there’s plenty to get behind or confront. Right now, the plant-based market share is increasing by the basics, sans health benefits, sans environmentalism – at this point being it’s being driven by business opportunities.
It’s a high tension, high value, high ethics debate that just may prove to offer a high market, high value rate of return not only for wall street, but for any restaurant adapting to heightened consumer awareness and the resulting demand.
Although, as focus groups have often revealed, product desire and availability are rated highly, even among a lack of consumer action i.e., consumers want the plant-based products on the menu, but they might not order them as readily as the data suggests. This creates a challenge when first rolling out a new menu, but once you settle in, the data will be more representative of the location’s relative market.
At Sundell & Associates, we can ease your entry to plant-based offerings by working in concert with distributors and vendors to create a winning combination of supply, demand, and pricing. Your samples are waiting.
Get in touch today to arrange for an introductory call with a member of our executive team and/or an Expert VP in your area.
Article by Tammie Hughes, for Sundell and Associates.