- Beyond Meat is moving into the grocery store's breakfast section with its new Beyond Breakfast Sausage, the company announced in a press release sent to Food Dive. It will come in two variations: classic and spicy. The frozen products will be ready for breakfast in five minutes.
- The plant-based sausage patty has 11 grams of protein per serving. It comes with half the fat, a third fewer calories and 35% less saturated fat and sodium than conventional pork sausage, Beyond Meat said.
- The new product will be on shelves nationwide at the end of the month.
While plant-based burgers were the hot item of 2019, plant-based sausage seems to be the rage for 2020. In addition to this launch, Impossible Foods, Kellogg's MorningStar Farm's Incogmeato, Nestlé's Sweet Earth and Greenleaf Foods' Lightlife and Field Roast brands also have started selling sausages this year.
However, the launch from Beyond Meat shouldn't be a surprise to people who follow the fast-growing sector. While these sausage patties are just getting to grocery shelves this month, they've been available to consumers at restaurants since last year.
Dunkin' first featured the patties in sandwiches in New York City in July, and it rolled the product out nationwide four months later. Beyond Sausage was also featured in a breakfast sandwich at Tim Hortons last fall — though the chain removed the menu option in all locations early this year, presumably due to lack of interest. Starbucks in Canada sells the Beyond Sausage sandwiches as well.
Bringing a restaurant product to retail, however, puts it in another dimension. After all, Impossible Foods launched its "bleeding" plant-based burger in restaurants in 2016. It didn't get to retail until last fall. The company's CFO David Lee told Forbes the company wanted to get to a point where it had significant brand awareness among meat-eating consumers before getting to retail.
Beyond Meat appears to be going the same route by using foodservice to test its plant-based chicken product ahead of a broader launch. Meat-free chicken strips was actually Beyond Meat's first product, and they were quietly discontinued a year ago. The company is making another attempt at plant-based chicken with extremely successful trials at KFC restaurants.
There are some brands that aren't in the plant-based meat space that use foodservice as their testing ground. Ayeshah Abuelhiga, CEO of the Mason Dixie Biscuit Company, told Food Dive last year that the restaurant she operates in Washington, D.C. is a critical test kitchen to determine which products it will eventually decide to sell in stores.
"It's a free focus group, in all essence," she told Food Dive. "And if our fan customers aren't buying it, then we know that it's not something that the mass public would want to buy."
Beyond Breakfast Sausage will help the plant-based company get into another daypart. Breakfast has been surging in popularity, growing at a steady clip during the last few years. Last year, American consumers ate nearly 102 billion breakfasts and 50 billion morning snacks, according to NPD Group data emailed to our sister publication Restaurant Dive. Beyond Breakfast Sausage is positioned in the sweet spot of that growth. According to Statista, handheld options led the frozen breakfast category with $376 million in sales in 2018.
The plant-based meat market was worth more than $939 million last year, according to SPINS statistics commissioned by the Plant Based Foods Association and the Good Food Institute. The segment posted 18% growth from the prior year, and was worth 2% of the total meat market.
To see that kind of growth continue, innovation is key. Moving into breakfast is an entirely new market for Beyond Meat and other plant-based brands. Similar to what happened in burgers, it seems the plant-based sausage market is quickly becoming crowded.