Planted-based meat is the hot new thing, but does it taste any good? USA TODAY staffers sampled both plant-based cheeseburgers and meat cheeseburgers to figure out the answer. What they concluded may surprise you.
Josmar Taveras, USA TODAY
Beyond Meat is launching a new, meatier version of its flagship burger, taking another step to disrupt the $270-billion meat market in the U.S.
The plant-based meat company, which went public in May, said Tuesday that it has started shipping its latest burger to grocery stores nationwide.
The “even meatier” product
Like the company’s previous products, the new patty looks and tastes like a beef patty but contains no meat. The latest recipe comprises a mixture of peas, mung bean and riceproteins, which the company says contribute to a meatier texture and taste in the burger. Coconut oil contributes to a juicy texture and beets yield the red meat-like hue, according to the company.
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The list of restaurants considering plant-based meat substitutes is growing longer.
“The new Beyond Burger is the next step in our journey toward building meat directly from plants that delivers a consumer experience indistinguishable from its animal protein equivalent,” said Ethan Brown, Beyond Meat Founder and CEO, in a statement.
In addition to store-bought burgers, Beyond Meat products can be found at restaurants such as Tim Horton’s and Del Taco.
Rivals become more aggressive
In the $40-billion global plant-based meat market, Beyond Meat’s rivals are picking up the pace.
In May, soon after Beyond Meat went public, Burger King expanded sales of its Whopper made with Impossible Foods patties from St. Louis to three other U.S. markets.
Stock price jumped
Since its public offering at $25, shares of the alternative meat producer have surged more than 500%. On Tuesday, however, the stock had its worst day since debuting, closing down $42.06 at $126.04 per share.
“We believe BYND (Beyond Burger) is positioned well to disrupt the U.S. meat industry, but see risks as competitors ramp,” Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s analyst Bryan D. Spillane wrote in the note on June 7, one day after Beyond Meat first released quarterly earnings since IPO.
For the first quarter 2019, Beyond Meat reported net revenue of $40.2 million, up 215% from the year-ago period and a net loss of $6.6 million, compared to its net loss of $5.7 million in the year-ago period.
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