- Beyond Meat has filed to go public with the ticket symbol BYND, the company said in a filing with the Securities Exchange Commission. The maker of plant-based hamburgers, sausages and chicken said in the filing that it is aiming to raise $100 million, but that figure is most likely to change as the IPO nears.
- The California company posted a net loss of $30.4 million on net revenue of $32.6 million in 2017, compared to a net loss of $25.1 million on net revenue of $16.2 million in the prior year. Beyond Meat, which has a number of high-profile investors including Bill Gates, Leonardo DiCaprio and Tyson Foods, would be the first stock offering for the new generation of companies making meat-like products from plants.
- Separately, the plant-based food company said it added Coca-Cola CFO Kathy Waller and Twitter CFO Ned Segal to its board of directors. “When we described the ideal candidates to join our board, we prioritized top-tier industry leaders with knowledge of CPG and experience with scaling businesses. We couldn’t have found two better candidates than Kathy and Ned,” Seth Goldman, executive chairman of Beyond Meat, said in a statement.
Beyond Meat, which reportedly hired investment bankers last month to help with an IPO, made it official in its filing with the SEC. The company is nearing a stock sale as consumer demand for plant-based versions of meat and dairy grows. Investors tend to like a company with a long runway for growth, making now a perfect time for Beyond Meat to explore the public markets, when demand for its stock would likely be high.
Beyond Meat noted in its SEC filing that it expects growth to continue as more outlets in the U.S. and abroad carry the product at stores or offer it on restaurant menus. The cash the company raises from an IPO could offer early investors like Tyson Foods, Bill Gates or former McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson the chance to exit their investment and most likely profit, though none have publicly stated their intention. The funds also could give Beyond Meat more money to fuel its expansion plans. As of Sept. 29, Beyond Meat had $50 million in cash and cash equivalents.
The company has sausages and chicken products made from plants on the market, but it's the hamburger — meant to look, cook and taste like a 80% protein, 20% fat burger — that has become its signature item. The hamburger is the first plant-based burger sold in the supermarket meat section. The Beyond Burger accounted for approximately 71% of its gross revenues for the nine months ended Sept. 29, the company said in the SEC document.
While the hamburger is now carried by virtually all major grocery retailers in the meat section next to their traditional beef products, some chains initially wanted to put the Beyond Burger in the frozen or produce section where veggie-based products have long resided. Beyond Meat, which has targeted carnivores with its meat-tasting item, may have to face similar hurdles outside the U.S. to gain acceptance — an expansion that no doubt will be costly.
The S-1 filing from Beyond Meat is among the first to give a detailed look at the financials of the nine-year old company. While the company lost $5.3 million more in 2017 compared to 2016, revenue doubled during that same period, a sign that demand for the firm's products is growing rapidly. The addition of CFOs from Coca-Cola and Twitter to its board is further evidence that Beyond Meat wants additional experience to help oversee its growth, and understands the increased financial demands that will come from being a public company.
“There has really been no true innovation in the (meat) industry. The world is changing, consumer tastes are changing and you have to stay up with those, and if you don’t, you get left behind," Charles Muth, Beyond Meat's chief growth officer, told Food Dive recently. "In the case of the meat industry, if you’re providing a protein center plate option for consumers, and those consumers are looking for other alternatives, you would be wise to consider us.”
To be sure, Beyond Meat, whose products are available in more than 32,000 outlets globally, is not the only choice in the alternative meat market. It competes in the space with Impossible Burger, which is moving into grocery stores in 2019, and frozen veggie burgers such as Kraft Heinz's Boca Burger and Kellogg's Morningstar Farms. But going public now could give Beyond Meat another first-mover advantage: Drumming-up additional publicity for its product and giving it deeper pockets to execute on its vision.