- Beyond Meat officially launched its Beyond Steak plant-based beef tips. It’s available at more than 5,000 Kroger and Walmart stores nationwide, as well as some Albertsons and Ahold divisions, the company said.
- The steak analog is frozen and pre-seared bite-sized pieces, which can be cooked in a skillet or air fryer in five minutes. There are 21 grams of protein per serving, as well as 6 grams of fat and no cholesterol, according to its Nutrition Facts label.
- Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown teased this upcoming launch this summer. The company debuted a similar test product earlier this month as part of its partnership with Taco Bell: Beyond Carne Asada.
With this launch, Beyond is the first U.S. manufacturer to launch a plant-based steak product on a large scale.
Steak is often thought to be the ultimate meat-eating experience, and few manufacturers of alternative products have attempted to mimic it so far. Beyond’s is the second alternative steak available in large U.S. grocery stores. Mycelium food maker Meati Foods launched its fermented Classic Steak at three Sprouts Farmers Market stores in July, with the products rolling out to all locations by the end of this year.
Impossible Foods has long teased that it was working on a steak product, with company founder Pat Brown mentioning at an MIT event earlier this month that they made a prototype plant-based filet mignon.
Beyond Steak is fairly clean-label, made primarily from wheat gluten, fava bean protein and canola oil. Fava beans also are used in Beyond’s dinner sausage and chicken products.
“Beyond Steak is a highly-anticipated expansion of our popular beef platform,” Dariush Ajami, Beyond Meat’s chief innovation officer, said in a statement. “Beyond Steak delivers the taste and texture of sliced steak in a way that is better for both people and the planet.”
The launch of Beyond Steak gives Beyond a potential win at a time when its fortunes seem to be falling fast.
After a year of slowing and stagnant growth, the publicly traded company cut 200 positions — about a fifth of its workforce — earlier this month. The layoffs included both rank-and-file and c-suite employees — including former chief operating officer Doug Ramsey, who had been suspended since his arrest on assault charges. It was the second round of layoffs in just over two months at Beyond.
But the company has had big problems elsewhere.
Earlier this year, the company launched shelf-stable plant-based jerky, the first product from its joint venture with PepsiCo for plant-based snacks. And while the product has received generally positive reviews, it also required new manufacturing processes and started with a massive distribution footprint. The result was a $100.5 million net loss for the company in the quarter after the launch.
Beyond also has struggled with supply chain issues and a reluctance by consumers to pay more for a product viewed as a premium offering amid a run-up in costs for a wide variety of goods and services.
Still, the Beyond Steak launch helps Beyond in a few ways. It adds something positive to the company’s storyline. It also gives it a unique product in the plant-based realm. Analysts have said one of the reasons for declining sales of name-brand plant-based products could stem from the ever-widening array of brands in stores. A bad consumer experience eating one brand could turn them away from the entire sector.
In the case of Beyond Steak, there are no similar plant-based products available, so it will stand out to consumers. However, because steak is such a prized meat-eating experience, it remains to be seen if they like Beyond’s take on it. A failure of this product could be an outsized blow both for Beyond and the larger plant-based segment.