- Beyond Meat entered a multi-year agreement with the American Cancer Society to advance research on cancer prevention.
- The agreement will allow for the collection of data to help the American Cancer Society build a research portfolio to study whether plant-based meat can play a role in cancer prevention. The American Cancer Society is currently looking for cancer risk factors in a research pool of more than 300,000 participants.
- This is the second large health research partnership Beyond Meat has undertaken. Last year, the company established a five-year Plant-Based Diet Initiative Fund at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
This announcement comes less than a week after Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown said the company was focusing on initiatives that target health-concerned consumers as a way to help the company get back on track.
During Beyond Meat’s recent earnings call, Brown said plant-based meat companies had let activist groups who questioned processed ingredients define much of the consumer sentiment about the health value of plant-based meat. Beyond Meat was founded with consumer health at its foundation, Brown said, and consumers looking for products that are healthier tend to be more willing to pay higher prices.
There has been very little research done into how switching from animal meat to a plant-based analog impacts consumers’ health.
A 2020 study done by the Stanford School of Medicine and funded by Beyond Meat reviewed the impact of consistently eating plant-based meat instead of traditional animal-derived products. The study found plant-based meat eating resulted in positive cardiovascular health indicators, more fiber consumption and about two pounds of weight loss in eight weeks.
The American Cancer Society has done extensive research on health issues and cancer associated with red meat consumption. The group already recommends that consumers seek out alternative protein sources.
But will research lead to a recommendation that consumers eat plant-based meat? It may not; more natural forms of plants may do more in the way of prevention. But by entering this partnership, Beyond Meat is willing to have some sort of conclusion drawn about its products — even though it may not be an enthusiastic recommendation.
Still, research from this partnership may be perceived as biased since a specific company is involved. Some discounted the 2020 Stanford study results because of Beyond Meat’s support, even though the company played no role in designing or conducting the study as well as analyzing the data.
In the release about the partnership with the American Cancer Society, Beyond Meat states it has no involvement in the research, data collection and analysis.
Beyond Meat isn’t the only company partnering with the American Cancer Society. According to its website, the American Cancer Society also has partnerships with Hormel Foods, Perdue Farms and Tyson Foods.