Vegan meat alternative company Beyond Meat isn’t too concerned about its vegan competitors; the company is aiming directly at the conventional meat industry.
Asked about competition from vegan companies in an interview with CNBC’s Fast Money Halftime Report, Beyond Meat CEO, Ethan Brown, told Frank Holland on Thursday that he isn’t too concerned about the vegan meat brands, such as Impossible Foods and Lightlife.
He suggested that Beyond Meat plans to cut into the profits of the massive global animal-derived meat industry.
“We really don’t focus on the plant-based meat sector as much as we focus on the meat sector itself,” said Brown.
“That’s a $1.4 trillion industry with just incredible diversity and potential globally. Our goal is to become a major global protein company.”
Beyond Meat aims to eliminate the need for animals in the development of high-quality, plant-based meat.
Until recent years, vegan meat alternatives had a reputation for tasting like cardboard and were mostly targeted at vegetarians and vegans.
However, Brown founded Beyond Meat in 2009, not with the intention of creating a vegan meat alternative but to develop a product that mimics pork, beef, chicken and other meats in every way possible, without any need for an animal.
With the help of scientists who study meat on the molecular level, the company was able to put together a combination of plants that make its products practically identical in taste and texture to meat derived from animals.
The products are so realistic that meat eaters are often unable to tell the difference.
“I’ve never expected a veggie burger to taste like a real burger in my lifetime,” said Lee Breslouer, senior writer at Thrillist.
“That all changed when I went to a big ol’ Whole Foods in Boulder, CO and had a Beyond Burger.”
Breslouer is not alone. According to Beyond Meat, 93% of people who purchased the Beyond Burger at grocery stores also purchased meat, which implies that meat eaters, not vegans or vegetarians, are the top consumers of Beyond Meat products.
Brown is hoping this trend continues, telling Market Watch this week that the company aims to make meat from animals completely “obsolete.”
So far, Beyond Meat appears to be heading in the right direction, as Beyond Burgers are outselling beef, becoming the top selling product in meat cases in the nation’s largest grocery stores, according to the company’s research in Southern California.
In addition to burgers, the company also sells vegan chicken, beef and sausages.
Following Beyond Meat’s IPO, which was the best of 2019 and saw the company’s valuation skyrocket to over $3.5 billion, the company plans to lower the prices of its products below animal-derived meat, which could be a major incentive for even more people to switch to plant-based meats.