Wall Street vastly underestimated the demand for the IPO of Beyond Meat, the world’s first vegan meat alternative to list on the US Stock Market. Originally priced at US$ 25, the BYND shares almost tripled during trading hours, reaching a high of US$ 73 before closing at US$ 65.75, gaining over 160% in value. BYND is the biggest-popping IPO since Palm Inc in 2000 according to Dealogic.
Founded by entrepreneur Ethan Brown in 2009, Beyond Meat is the first vegan food unicorn, (AKA a company valued at over USD 1 billion, for all you non techies out there). In fact, at one point during trading yesterday, the company’s valuation clocked in at a whopping USD 3.8 billion. Not bad for a company that’s barely ten years old. Beyond Meat’s early investors included Bill Gates, Leonardo DiCaprio, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone and Hong Kong social entrepreneur and Green Monday founder David Yeung.
Beyond Meat’s products, which include plant-based sausages, chicken strips and beef crumble in addition to the now world famous bleeding burger patty, first arrived in Hong Kong in 2015, years before any other geography outside of the US, thanks to Yeung’s vision and passion for the young company. Earlier today, Yeung expressed his elation at the news in a social media post: “Congratulations to Ethan Brown and the BYND team on the epic IPO! Honoured and surreal to be along this Beyond Meat world-changing journey since 2014!”
The company’s flagship product, the bleeding Beyond Burger made from pea protein, debuted at US healthy grocery store Whole Foods in 2016, and shortly thereafter launched in Hong Kong, another world first, where it is distributed by Yeung’s Green Common arm and has been on their retail shelves and cafe menus ever since, as well as on those of dozens of third party F&B partners across the territory .
In Hong Kong, where meat consumption per capita is one of the highest in the world (though this is changing), the Beyond patty has been hugely popular and has ushered in a new era of plant-based dining in the city, spurring chefs and restaurateurs to up their vegan game to meet the soaring demand for meatless dining as consumers look to greatly reduce their beef & dairy intake for health and environmental reasons.
As detailed on the company’s website, the Beyond Meat requires 99% less water, 93% less land and 90% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than the equivalent amount of beef, which has made the vegan burger especially popular with eco-minded millennials and Gen Z consumers. Beyond Meat’s phenomenally successful IPO shows just how important the demand for plant-based animal protein alternatives are, and we expect to see a huge amount of new interest and investment in this space.
Lead image courtesy of Beyond Meat Facebook, Patty photo courtesy of Beyond Meat.