Tyson Foods, Inc. has sold its shares of vegan meat company Beyond Meat as it develops its own vegan protein products.
The Arkansas-based company initially purchased a 5 percent stake in Beyond Meat back in 2016 for $15 million, subsequently increasing that to 6.5 percent for an additional $8 million.
“Tyson Ventures is pleased with the investment in Beyond Meat and has decided the time is right to exit its investment,” the company told Bloomberg.
America’s largest meat processor will sell its shares right on the cusp of Beyond Meat’s IPO, which is expected to take place next week.
Beyond Meat, which will be listed as BYND, plans to sell 8.75 million shares for $19 to $21 each, which means the company could be worth up to $1.2 billion.
That would have potentially increased Tyson’s stake in the company up to around $79 million.
However, Tyson has plans of its own to profit from the booming plant-based food category as it is currently working rapidly to develop a line of vegan protein.
The company stated earlier this year that it is developing a plant-based protein line, which it now plans to launch soon and begin market testing this summer.
As more consumers look to plant-based meat alternatives due to concerns about health, the environmental impact of meat consumption, as well as factory farming, a number of major meat companies have started producing their own plant-based meats.
In October 2018, leading Canadian packaged meat company Maple Leaf Foods launched Greenleaf Foods, a plant-based food subsidiary which includes both Lightlife and Field Roast Grain Meat Co.
Maple Leaf also recently announced plans to build a $310 vegan meat factory to double its capacity, in order to keep up with the skyrocketing demand for plant-based food.
Major German meat producer Rügenwalder Mühle also offers vegan and vegetarian meats, which account for 30% of its total revenue.