Beyond Meat Expects Turnaround with New Products After Mixed Start to 2024

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After a mixed start to the year, with both revenues and sales declining in Q1, Beyond Meat remains optimistic about the rest of 2024, pointing to the rollout of its healthier and costlier plant-based beef.

As the fourth iterations of its burger and mince begin replacing their predecessors on retail shelves, Beyond Meat has reported its eighth straight quarter of year-on-year revenue decline, which reached $75.6M in Q1 2024, dropping by 18% from the corresponding period last year.

However, this was slightly higher than analysts expected ($75.2M), and in line with the company’s guidance for the quarter after a tough 2023. The net revenue was also up by 2.6% from the previous quarter. Moreover, the plant-based meat leader reported a gross profit of $3.7M (down by 41% from Q1 2023), meaning that its products made more money than they cost to produce.

But operating expenses led to a total net loss of $54.4M for Beyond Meat this quarter. Keeping with the mixed-bag theme of its earnings report though, its deficit actually narrowed by 8% from Q1 2023 – this was thanks to an 8% reduction in operating losses and losses from its Planet Partnership with PepsiCo, which saw the launch of the Beyond Jerky. The slow-selling SKU was discontinued last year, with the El Segundo company rechannelling its focus to the new Beyond IV platform.

The new burger and mince, which are said to be meatier and healthier, are also more expensive – Beyond Meat is banking on these three factors to drive growth in the rest of the year. “Through this fourth-generation project, which we expect will be fully distributed by Memorial Day, we took a leap forward on a continuous improvement journey that is a rapid and relentless innovation programme,” CEO Ethan Brown said in a conference call with investors.

“We really do believe that we are at the early stages of a terrific and pivotal year for Beyond Meat,” he added. “We’re doing the things you need to do to get through a period that is challenging and resume growth.”

Sales down across channels, but McDonald’s deal to drive growth

Courtesy: McDonald’s Germany

Over the last year, Beyond Meat’s distribution points have declined globally, down from 146,000 in Q1 2023 to 130,000 today. This has coincided with a decrease in sales across both retail and foodservice. In the US, both channels saw a 16% decline in net revenue, which the company ascribed to a softening of demand despite discounts on its products, a dip in the volume of products sold, the discontinuation of its jerky SKU, as well as the loss of distribution.

Internationally, it experienced a 12% decline in retail sales, but a much larger 29% drop in foodservice revenue. This meant its sales were down by 21.5% in non-US markets in Q1. In retail, this was due to softer demand for its beef and pork products in Canada and chicken SKUs in Europe. The foodservice performance proved to be a tough comparison with Q1 2023, when Beyond Meat had just finished a large order for McDonald’s as its vegan nuggets went on sale in Europe.

Speaking of which, Beyond Meat reported its Q1 earnings the same day McDonald’s announced a campaign for its famous meals promotion, exclusively featuring the McPlant burger in menus curated by Tokio Hotel members and twins Bill and Tom Kaulitz. It’s similar to the Travis Scott, BTS and McJordan meals in the US.

Beyond Meat’s partnership with McDonald’s has now expanded into Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, a marker of its plans to boost distribution and sales in Europe – one of its five key priorities for the year. The Beyond Burger has now expanded into more Co-op stores in the UK, while Beyond Steak has been launched into Dutch foodservice. And, after satisfying local shelf life requirements, the company will expand its retail presence in Germany, too.

A new cookbook to showcase healthier Beyond IV products

beyond meat ingredients
Courtesy: Beyond Meat

Despite representing a significant improvement from the previous quarter, the company’s gross profit and margin fell short of its expectations, owing to factors like including higher manufacturing and material costs, long-running discounts, and transitional costs related to bringing production in-house (which is also one of its priorities this year). But Beyond Meat is optimistic about its margin for the rest of the year, given that the Q1 figures don’t account for the price hikes attached to its more premium beef products.

Brown said the consumer reception of the higher markups – another business priority for 2024 – is “too early to tell”, but noted that it’s not just a new pricing stricture, but also a new product altogether. “We did have long discussions with a lot of the main retailers we work with around why we’re doing this,” he added. “And with limited exception, most were accepting.”

The new burger and mince represent the most significant renovation of its core product line to date, with a much more prominent focus on health and flavour – two of the most important factors to Americans. They have 60% less saturated fat and 20% lower sodium content than their predecessors, with more protein than most conventional 80/20 beef products.

Brown explained the company’s product development process relies upon a framework called FAAT, “for flavour, aroma, appearance, and texture, while driving improvements in nutrition, cost, and other considerations”. He said the team “delivered a home run and improved sensory experience with a nutritional build – so impressive that it goes to market with a host of important validations”.

The Beyond IV products meet the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) nutritional guidelines for its Better Choices for Life programme, and carry Good Housekeeping’s Nutritionist Approved Emblem. They also featured in a collection of ‘heart-healthy’ recipes by the American Heart Association (AHA), and Brown revealed that the latter and Beyond Meat are co-launching a cookbook to highlight the nutritional credentials of its products.

He highlighted “getting leaner” as another of the company’s 2024 priorities, which almost serves as a double entendre. It referred to its operations becoming more efficient and a tightening of its focus on product portfolio and consumer messaging, but it ties in with the health-forward message emanating from the new products, which represent another key goal for this year.

Heart-healthy product line set to expand

beyond beef crumbles
Courtesy: Beyond Meat

The CEO also pinpointed “orchestrated misinformation regarding our product lines” as one of the brand’s biggest challenges – for years, Beyond Meat and its main competitor Impossible Foods have been the subject of a targeted campaign by the Center for Consumer Freedom, a meat industry interest group. In August, the company responded with a marketing initiative quashing the misinformation.

This summer, Beyond Meat will launch an “impactful and significant” marketing drive to promote its fourth-generation beef. “We believe – as do the nutritionists, institutions and dietitians standing behind Beyond IV – that we offer consumers a delicious yet powerful choice that can help them and their loved ones with healthier lives,” said Brown.

“My emphasis on the health side of things is simply because of the misinformation campaign. We would not make these changes at the expense of taste,” he added. “We want to bring back in that very close and early adopter consumer that maybe has been scared away.”

In March, Beyond Meat unveiled a new product line in its Beef Crumbles, which were certified by the AHA and ADA. Brown revealed the alt-meat giant will introduce another heart-healthy product later this year. With these innovations, the company reiterated its full-year forecast of net revenues between $315-345M, and expects sales to reach $85-90M in the next quarter.

“2024 is a pivotal year for change and progress for Beyond Meat. We began the year making solid strides along our 2024 strategy and correspondingly, our path to sustainable operations and a return to growth,” said Brown.

“We believe that our determination to sharply reduce our operating expenses and cash use, consolidate our production network, implement pricing changes to help restore margins and launch our most significant renovation to date Beyond IV for purposes of reinforcing, as well as raising the bar on the health benefits of our plant-based needs, amidst sustained misinformation campaigns are beginning to pay off.”


  • Anay Mridul

    Anay is Green Queen's resident news reporter. Originally from India, he worked as a vegan food writer and editor in London, and is now travelling and reporting from across Asia. He's passionate about coffee, plant-based milk, cooking, eating, veganism, food tech, writing about all that, profiling people, and the Oxford comma.

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