Volume growth during the first quarter was partially offset by a lower net price per pound driven by investments in promotions and an emphasis on larger-pack items with a lower net price per unit volume, said CEO Ethan Brown.
Despite the challenging macroeconomic backdrop, things are looking up in the foodservice market as more people become vaccinated, he said in prepared remarks: "We have recently begun to see a slow thaw occurring within foodservice both domestically and in certain international markets."
On the Q1 earnings call Thursday, he added: "Consistent with the slow and steady thaw that we saw throughout Q1, we were up 9% sequentially in US foodservice from Q4 2020 to Q1 2021... COVID-related dynamics aside, Beyond Meat continues to hold the number one brand position in terms of dollar sales for our category in US foodservice according to NPD data."
Goal to achieve price parity with animal protein in at least one product category by the end of 2024
According to SPINS data for U.S. multi-outlet and natural and specialty channels for the 12-week period ended March 21, 2021, sales of Beyond Meat products were up 16% year-over-year, while the plant-based meat category as a whole was up 6%, said Brown.
“We are investing significant focus and spend against our goal of achieving price parity or underpricing animal protein in at least one of our product categories by the end of 2024.
"Specific investments and activities include: the establishment of more localized production within close proximity of our highest priority markets; more integrated end-to-end production processes across a greater proportion of our manufacturing network; scale-driven efficiencies in procurement and fixed cost absorption; further diversification of our core protein ingredient supply chain; continued improvements in throughput across our manufacturing network; certain product and process innovations and reformulations; and packaging optimization.”
Beyond Burger 3.0
Beyond Meat – which has announced global partnerships with McDonald’s and Yum! Brands (KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut), and a tie-up with PepsiCo to develop snacks and beverages featuring plant-based protein - recently unveiled the latest iteration of its flagship Beyond Burger, which features 35% less saturated fat and 75% more iron than 80/20 beef burgers, a comparable level of B vitamins, and a meatier flavor.
The Beyond Burger 3.0 - which is rolling out in grocery stores now and will hit restaurants in June - will be followed by a leaner version later this year featuring 55% less saturated fat, said Brown, who told analysts on a recent call that, "When people grab a plant-based burger, they are making an assumption in their mind that this is going to be healthier."