- Charles Muth, former vice president of sales for Coca-Cola's Venturing and Emerging Brands unit, has been named chief growth officer of plant-based protein maker Beyond Meat, according to Food Business News. Muth will oversee distribution and growth of the brand's products in retail and food service.
- During his time with Coca-Cola, Muth's segment achieved revenue growth of 2000% from 2014 to 2016. He previously served as vice president of sales at Honest Beverages, where he tripled growth between 2010 and 2013.
- “Chuck’s clear track record of driving substantial growth in brands big and small, established and challenger, is compelling," Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown said. "Our vision is to bring our plant-based meats to the center of America’s plate and beyond, and I have every confidence in Chuck’s ability to chart the path between that vision and consumers.”
The addition of Muth comes as Beyond Meat looks to accelerate its growth plans and become a mainstream food product.
Muth is one of several industry veterans to join the company recently. Mark Mortimer, former president and chief customer officer of Annie's, joined the company as chief commercial officer. Jerry Joye, former COO of Fiji Water, became COO. Mark Nelson, former CFO and treasurer at Farmer Brothers, now serves as CFO.
A plant-based protein startup with plenty of promise, Beyond Meat has no shortage of notable backers: Last October, Tyson's venture capital fund snagged a 5% stake in the meat alternative manufacturer. Tyson was the first major meat company to invest in a plant protein-based company — a move that helps legitimize Beyond Meat's growth, as well as the potential of alternative proteins to yield profitability for traditional meat companies. The company has also received an investment from 301 INC, the business development and venture capital unit of General Mills.
Beyond Meat's cutting-edge innovations, including veggie burgers that sizzle like meat on the grill, are attracting consumers who have previously been on the fence about vegetarian meat options. About 31% of Americans now practice "meat free" days, according to Mintel, but it remains to be seen if plant-based proteins can truly move into the mainstream and eat into traditional meat sales.
Company sales are already seeing healthy growth but the Coca-Cola alum's expertise could help Beyond Meat establish a stronger footprint in the space and take market share from plant-based protein competitors like Impossible Foods — as well as meat manufacturers.