Sinking Our Teeth Into Beyond Meat's Plummeting Stock Prices

Lizzy Rosenberg - Author

May 10 2021, Published 11:58 a.m. ET

Vegans, vegetarians, and veg-curious eaters alike are familiar with plant-based meat alternatives such as Beyond Meat. The brand has become increasingly popular, creating meatless versions of classic restaurant creations, and selling burger patties in grocery stores, which can be prepared accordingly at home. Despite the hype in recent years, though, Beyond Meat's stock prices are currently down — but why?

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“[I]n marketing, we have a story to tell,” said Beyond's Chief Executive, Ethan Brown, on a phone call discussing the brand's sinking earnings, as per Market Watch. “There’s still a lot of noise out there about the ingredients, things like that, so we want to get out there and be very, very focused on making sure the consumer understands that the products are healthy and are a way to continue to advance some of their own health goals.”

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Beyond Meat's stock prices are currently down.

Stock prices for Beyond Meat (BYND) have significantly dropped during the company's first quarter. According to NBC News, Beyond was down by $0.42 per share, which was approximately two times more than market analysts had anticipated. Shares also plummeted by 7.1 percent in the premarket. Despite more consumers turning to a plant-based diet during the pandemic, we have to wonder what is the leading cause behind the company's demise in the stock market.

The company alleges COVID-19 is to blame for its latest stock market hurtle — the ongoing pandemic has reportedly caused demand to dwindle in both grocery stores and in restaurants. Additionally, many are starting to question if Beyond Burgers are truly healthy, despite the fact that a plant-based diet is proven to be healthier than one with animal products. Other companies are also starting to hop aboard the meat alternative train.

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“Retail net revenues led our growth, increasing 45 percent year-over-year. And although food service net revenues were down 34 percent versus the prior-year period, the sector appears to be showing directional early signs of recovery from COVID-19,” Brown said on a recent earnings call, as per Investors.

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Consumers are questioning the ingredients in Beyond Meat products — are they healthy?

Recently, brands like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods have received criticism regarding the ingredients in meat alternatives. According to Market Watch, many claim that the ingredients are too processed to be healthier than actual meat, although that isn't the case based on the fact that meatless diets include far less saturated fat and cholesterol. Much of this criticism, however, is coming from competitors.

Last year, Lightlife publicly called out Beyond Meat for its alleged unhealthy ingredients.

“Enough with the hyper-processed ingredients, GMOs, unnecessary additives and fillers and fake blood,” the letter said, according to One Green Planet. “While we want the same things — a greener planet and a more sustainable food system — at Lightlife, we’ve chosen a very different way to get there. We’re making a clean break from both of you ‘food tech’ companies that attempt to mimic meat at any cost.”

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But to show that its ingredients are nothing to fear, Beyond teamed up with Stanford University to create the Plant-Based Diet Initiative Fund which shows the benefits of a plant-based diet over the course of five years. Per a press release, it will include peer-reviewed clinical studies to show how incorporating plant-based meat — over actual meat — improves wellness. The research will also include endeavors to find new plant-proteins that can be used to further improve the brand's products.

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Other brands are joining the plant-based meat market.

You've likely noticed that other brands have recently joined the plant-based meat market — including well-known meat brands. For example, Tyson recently released a line of meat alternatives that are supposedly somewhat comparable to Beyond's products. Smithfield's Pure Farmland line also includes meatless burgers, meatballs, breakfast patties, and pre-seasoned protein starters.

With more companies and products emerging in the meat alternative market, Beyond might be in a little bit of trouble — but let's be honest, we'll always love the brand's incredible creations, and we can't wait to see new ingredients that may come from its work with Stanford.

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