California’s Beyond Meat has secured two leading meat industry veterans from Arkansas-based Tyson Foods. Doug Ramsey comes on board as COO while Bernie Adcock assumes the role of chief supply chain officer. The latter is a newly created position. The new hires are in preparation for Beyond’s expansion in 2022 with the fast-food industry being a key target market.
A big hitter in the meat industry, Tyson Foods is feeling the sting of the alternative protein sector. A former investor in Beyond, it sold its pre-IPO stake ahead of developing its own line of alternative meat products. Now, it has lost two top executives to the growing plant-based pioneer.
Fast food focus
Beyond’s new talent acquisitions add strength to the company ahead of 2022. Ramsey, having managed Tyson’s McDonald’s businesses, will be a valuable addition. Especially as Beyond just signed a three-year global agreement with the fast-food giant. The contract comes after Beyond’s 2020 results were reported. Though Q4 performed well, a $25.1 million net loss was posted. This has been attributed to decreased demand from the foodservice sector following the impact of Covid-19.
The agreement with McDonald’s will see Beyond remaining the patty supplier of choice for the McPlant burger. Development of other dishes will begin with chicken, pork, and egg alternatives all on the table.
Contracts are also in place with other industry stalwarts, including Yum! Brands and PepsiCo. The former will use Beyond products in KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell menu offerings.
“Everything we have going, whether it’s the partnership with McDonald’s, with Yum, with PepsiCo, there’s an enormous amount of growth on the table, and we need to make sure we have the very best in operational and supply chain capabilities available to us and our customers,” Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown told CNBC. ″[Ramsey and Adcock] understand better than almost anybody the large-scale production of protein at a cost structure that everyday consumers can afford.”
Adcock joins in a role reporting directly to Ramsey. “I’m delighted to join Beyond Meat at a moment when the company is rapidly scaling for strategic partners, customers, and consumer demand in the US and globally,” said Adcock to the Beyond Meat team. “I am looking forward to supporting the Company’s planned growth through the expansion of supply chain capacity domestically and in high-potential markets like the EU and China.”
Both men have more than 30 years of experience at Tyson.
As the pandemic surges on, new variants maintain a grip on consumer spending. Inflation is expected to have a big impact as well. Beyond aims to use these issues to its advantage, pursuing price parity with conventional meat. As the cost of beef rises, Beyond is undergoing strategic streamlining to bring down operational costs. “Right now we have the opportunity to go back, particularly in the U.S. and create a much more efficient production system,” Brown said, adding, “Overall, the inflationary prices you’re seeing, pressures you’re seeing in the protein market, will favour us.”
Beyond remains in a strong position, regardless of the pandemic. It was revealed earlier this year that the brand is the top searched vegan company on Google. Oatly came in second, but not a close one. Beyond’s biggest U.S. competitor, Impossible Foods was not in the top five, but this is most likely due to a lack of global expansion. Progress on that front has been halted by slow approval for its heme ingredient, particularly in mainland China and across Europe.
All images courtesy of Beyond Meat.