Beyond Meat is expanding its product line beyond plant-based hamburgers, sausages and chicken to include a ground beef option, the company said in a statement. The product, which is made from pea, mung bean and rice proteins, has the taste and texture of ground beef but with 25% less saturated fat. It also has no soy or gluten and is non-GMO.
Beyond Meat said its new product aims to grab share from the ground beef market, the largest segment in the beef category. Beyond Beef offers the same culinary flexibility, the company noted, and is perfect for tacos, meatballs, sliders, empanadas and more.
- "We’ve long had our eye on creating a product that enables consumers to enjoy all the benefits and versatility of ground beef while tapping into the human health, environmental, and animal welfare benefits of plant-based foods," Ethan Brown, founder and CEO of Beyond Meat, said in a release. The company said Beyond Beef will be available in the fresh meat case at retailers nationwide later this year.
As Beyond Beef joins the popular Beyond Burger in the company's expanding plant-based product lineup, it presumably will be targeting customers looking to reduce the amount of red meat in their diet. According to a 2018 study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 55% of consumers said they were limiting their consumption of processed meat, and 41% said they were reducing their red meat intake. This trend opens an area "ripe for innovation," Beyond Meat said in the release.
Besides touting its culinary flexibility, the company hopes Beyond Beef will score with consumers on its nutritional profile as well. Beyond Meat also said its new product contains no antibiotics, hormones, soy, gluten or genetically modified organisms, and that it expects Beyond Beef to be certified as both kosher and halal.
Beyond Beef may appeal to consumers who want an adaptable, meat-like product to include in recipes where they would typically use real ground beef. According to a list of FAQs, the company said Beyond Beef has a more neutral flavor and aroma than the Beyond Burger, allowing it to "serve as a blank canvas" for any seasoning or dish. The new item also contains additional protein sources, while the Beyond Burger's protein source is pea protein isolate.
For Beyond Meat, which has become synonymous with its plant-based burger, expanding into ground beef is a logical next step to expand its portfolio and grow its name among consumers. The ground beef product also can be used in a variety of food options, which increases the use of the beef alternative beyond just hamburgers for consumers — potentially making Beyond's product more popular with consumers.
Taste will be a big factor in determining its success. Beyond Meat said the new product "delivers on the meaty taste, texture and versatility of ground beef," but consumers will be the ones to decide whether that's true. So far, they've flocked to the company's flagship Beyond Burger, which was the first plant-based burger sold in the grocery meat section. Sales of the Beyond Burger made up 71% of the company's gross revenues for the first nine months of 2018, the company reported in a SEC filing.
Announcing the debut of Beyond Beef now — yet not planning to make the product available at retail until this fall — could serve notice to potential competitors who may look to bring out a similar product. It also may elicit interest in the company's planned $100 million IPO, which was announced this past November.
The company has already brought plant-based sausages, chicken products and frozen beef-like crumbles to market. It's likely there will be additional innovations coming in the near future. With the pressure to perform, attract more investment and bolster sales, Beyond Meat can be expected to look for new markets and more opportunities for growth in the red hot plant-based sector.