Beyond Meat rocked by effects of inflation

The declining demand for vegan products has been further exacerbated by heightened scrutiny surrounding the health benefits of such alternatives.

4 mins read

Beyond Meat, a company specializing in vegan food products, has experienced a significant decline in sales, amounting to nearly one-third, primarily due to the increasing cost of living that is putting pressure on consumers. The manufacturer of plant-based meat substitutes has reported a decrease of 30.5% in net revenues for the three-month period ending in June compared to the same period a year ago. As a result of this financial performance, the company’s shares saw a drop of nearly 12% during extended trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

In response to these challenges, Beyond Meat had previously unveiled plans to reduce its workforce by nearly 20% in order to achieve cost savings of approximately $39 million (£30.6 million). The company attributes its current struggles to a combination of factors, including weaker demand within the plant-based meat category, elevated inflation rates, increasing interest rates, and ongoing concerns regarding the potential for an economic recession. Consequently, Beyond Meat has revised its annual revenue projections downward, now anticipating figures between $360 million and $380 million, as opposed to the earlier projections of up to $415 million.

The declining demand for vegan products has been further exacerbated by heightened scrutiny surrounding the health benefits of such alternatives. Beyond Meat’s CEO, Ethan Brown, acknowledged that this shift in perception has been influenced by interest groups that have successfully cast doubt and generated fears regarding the ingredients and production processes used in plant-based meats. Brown expressed these sentiments during an earnings call, highlighting the challenges the company is facing due to these negative associations.

Despite these financial setbacks, Beyond Meat has managed to narrow its net loss for the same three-month period to $53.5 million, down from $97.1 million in the previous year. This reduction in losses was attributed to various cost-cutting measures, including a workforce reduction of around 200 employees, announced earlier in the year. Beyond Meat, renowned for its plant-based burgers, sausages, and nuggets, debuted on the Nasdaq stock exchange in May 2019, experiencing an impressive first-day trading surge of over 160%. However, the company now finds itself in a competitive landscape with food industry giants like Kellogg and Tyson Foods also entering the plant-based market.

Beyond Meat’s struggles are emblematic of a broader trend within the industry, as other food manufacturers also grapple with dwindling demand for meat alternatives. In June, Meatless Farm, another vegan food company, ceased trading and laid off its employees due to similar challenges. Additionally, sausage producer Heck recently scaled back its vegan offerings, citing a lack of consumer demand. The Vegan Society has commented on the significant impact of the cost-of-living crisis on consumer choices in the UK, while Meatless Farm attributed the crowded market for alternative meat products as a contributing factor to its difficulties.

Currently, Beyond Meat’s shares are valued at approximately $15 each, a considerable decline from its initial public offering (IPO) price of $25. The company’s journey exemplifies the volatility and challenges faced by businesses operating within the burgeoning plant-based food sector.