Expo West 2016

Beyond Meat to unveil 'the first plant-based burger that will be placed in the meat counter'

By Elaine Watson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Beyond Meat at the 2016 Natural Products Expo West trade show
Beyond Meat at the 2016 Natural Products Expo West trade show
Beyond Meat – the California-based maker of plant-based ‘meat’ – is preparing to test market what it claims is “the first plant-based burger that will be placed in the meat counter”, according to executive chairman Seth Goldman.

Honest Tea founder Goldman, who has been on the board of Beyond Meat since 2013 and became executive chairman in November 2015, was speaking to FoodNavigator-USA at the Natural Products Expo West trade show in Anaheim.

The refrigerated burger would be test marketed in the spring, and was “very different​” to Beyond Meat’s frozen ‘Beast Burger’ (which launched in early 2015), although it too uses non-GMO pea protein as the primary protein source, he said.

“I can’t give you any more details now, butit’s a breathtaking product. If the Beast Burger was a plant-based burger 1.0, then the new burger is more like 5.0."

The plan is to introduce the product in "a limited number of outlets, in preparation for a larger expansion down the road​," he added.

Rapid expansion, high profile backers

Co-founded by Ethan Brown and Brent Taylor in 2009, Beyond Meat launched its first products on the national stage in 2013, and is now in 10,000+ stores including Publix, HEB, Target, and Whole Foods, with products including Beast burgers and sliders (made from non-GMO pea protein); Beyond Chicken strips, tenders and poppers (made from non-GMO soy and pea protein); and Beyond Beef crumbles and meatballs (made with non-GMO pea protein).

Beyond Beef beefy crumble
Beyond Meat's beefy crumbles are made with non-GMO pea protein

It has also recently teamed up with meal delivery firm Chef'd to launch new meal kits containing its plant-based 'meat'.

Based in El Segundo, California, with a manufacturing facility in Columbia, Missouri, Beyond Meat has the license to use a patented process to make meat-replicas developed by Fu-Hung Hsieh and Harold Huff at the University of Missouri, and is on a mission “to create mass-market solutions that perfectly replace animal protein with plant protein.”

Watch this video from Beyond Meat explaining how it manufactures its products: 

High-profile backers

To date, Beyond Meat has secured financial backing from high-profile investors including Gen Mills’ 301 Inc venture arm, Seth Goldman, Bill Gates, VC legend Kleiner-Perkins Caufield & Byers (which backed Amazon and Google - before everyone else did), The Obvious Corporation (an investment vehicle created by the founders of Twitter), and the Humane Society of the United States.

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