Beyond Meat raises $55m in round led by Cleveland Avenue LLC

Meat giant Tyson Foods increases stake in plant-based brand Beyond Meat: a 'fantastic alternative for consumers'

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Plant-based Beyond Meat raises $55m as Tyson Foods increases stake

Related tags Starch Beyond meat

Beyond Meat – the plant-based company behind the Beyond Burger (the first meat-free burger to be merchandised in the meat counter) – has raised $55m in a financing round led by VC firm Cleveland Avenue, LLC, and supported by meat giant Tyson Foods.

El Segundo, CA-based Beyond Meat​ – which has attracted investment from a start-studded group of financial backers from Honest Tea founder Seth Goldman and Bill Gates to Leonardo​​ DiCaprio – says the money will be used to more than triple the size of its production footprint, further fund its R&D work, and expand sales and distribution.

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 c.19,000 stores including Kroger, Albertsons, Safeway, HEB, Target, and Whole Foods, with products including Beast burgers and sliders (made from non-GMO pea protein); Beyond Chicken strips (made from non-GMO soy and pea protein); Beyond Beef crumbles (made with non-GMO pea protein); and its highest profile product, the pea protein-based Beyond Burger, which is sold chilled alongside conventional meat.

The ready-to-cook patty, which is shipped frozen but merchandised in stores’ refrigerators (it has a 10-day refrigerated shelf-life), is now in 5,000+ stores, and is also gaining traction in the foodservice market in chains from TGI Fridays (where it will roll out nationwide in 2018) to Veggie Grill (it’s now on the menu in almost 4,000 restaurants, hotels, college campus dining halls, hospitals and other food service outlets).

A recent deal with Sysco​​ will also expand its potential reach to tens of thousands of burger joints, restaurant chains, hospitality properties, healthcare centers and educational facilities nationwide.

Based in southern 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.”​

Speaking to FoodNavigator-USA at our FOOD VISION USA​​ conference in Chicago last year,​ executive chairman Seth Goldman said that if plant-based burgers become a permanent fixture in the meat case, “all of a sudden, the meat aisle becomes the protein aisle. There’s cow protein, chicken protein and plant protein. It’s a continuum of options.”​

According to Nielsen data​ compiled for the Plant Based Foods Association and The Good Food Institute, US retail sales of meat alternatives in measured channels rose 6.1% to $554.6m in the year to August 12, 2017, while sales of tofu and tempeh (which Nielsen tracks separately) were up 2.6% to $98.6m.

More to follow from Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown next week...

“Global demand for all protein remains high and we’re passionate about meeting that demand sustainably. Our investment in Beyond Meat provides another fantastic alternative for consumers as we strive to sustainably feed the world​.”

Justin Whitmore, EVP corporate strategy, chief sustainability officer, Tyson Foods

The Beyond Burger

The Beyond Burger “looks, cooks, and tastes like ground beef from cows but is made entirely from plants, without GMOs, soy, or gluten​,” claims Beyond Meat.

The Beyond Burger packs more protein and iron than beef and is a cholesterol free food, with less saturated fat than beef. A 1/4lb Beyond Burger sold in grocery stores has 4g saturated fat and 22g total fat, compared to an 80/20 beef burger’s 9g saturated fat and 23g total fat.”

The ingredients are: ​Pea protein isolate, expeller pressed canola oil, refined coconut oil, water, yeast extract, maltodextrin, natural flavors, gum arabic, sunflower oil, salt, succinic acid, acetic acid, non-gmo modified food starch, cellulose from bamboo, methylcellulose, potato starch, beet juice extract, ascorbic acid, annatto extract, citrus fruit extract, vegetable glycerin.

field roast loaf

Plant-based meats account for less than a quarter of 1% of meat sales in the US, while plant-based milks have gobbled up almost 10% of the fluid milk market, says the Good Food Institute (GFI). But why is this? Are they simply not up to snuff, or is it just a matter of time before that percentage creeps up? 

Speaking on a call with reporters in September, GFI cofounder and executive director Bruce Friedrich said: "Once we have products that taste the same ​​[as meat] and cost less, we're going to see that quarter of 1% shoot up to 50% of the market."​​ Read more HERE​​​. 

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1 comment

What is Tyson thinking?

Posted by M D,

Sure am glad I sold my stock in Tyson when I did.

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