Beyond Meat to lay off 200 staff, shake up exec team, as it targets cash flow positive operations in late 2023

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

2022 has been something of an annus horribilis for plant-based meat co Beyond Meat. Image credit: Beyond Meat
2022 has been something of an annus horribilis for plant-based meat co Beyond Meat. Image credit: Beyond Meat

Related tags Beyond meat plant-based plant-based meat Meat alternatives

Loss-making plant-based meat co Beyond Meat - which is currently squaring up to former co-packer Don Lee Farms in a trial in L.A. - has unveiled plans to lay off approximately 200 employees (19% of its global workforce) in a bid to cut costs and achieve cash flow positive operations within the second half of 2023.

The beleaguered firm - which posted a net loss of $97.1m on revenues down -1.6% to $147m in Q2 - also cut its revenue outlook, and says it now expects Q3 net revenues of $82m, down 23% from Q3, 2021, while full-year 2022 revenues are now expected in the range of $400-425m vs previous predictions of  $470-520m.

In a press release​ issued this morning, the firm said it had been "negatively impacted by ongoing softness in the plant-based meat category overall, especially in the refrigerated subsegment, and by the impact of increased competition."

Inflation is "exerting pressure on the category as consumers trade down into cheaper forms of protein, including animal meat," ​noted Beyond Meat, which also blamed "decisions made by distributors and customers, such as changes in inventory levels and postponed or canceled promotions."

However, CEO Ethan Brown insisted the underlying factors driving interest in meat alternatives have not changed, adding: "While we believe the current headwinds facing our business and category—including record inflation—are transient, our mission, brand, and long-term opportunity endure."

Executive departures, arrivals

Beyond Meat also noted plans to part company with suspended COO Doug Ramsey effective today (Oct 14) following his arrest for alleged assault. Jonathan Nelson will lead operations and supply chain on a permanent basis as SVP Operations.

Global chief growth officer and president, North America, Deanna Jurgens will leave the business Oct 17 and will not be replaced; while the sales team will report to new hire Mike Sharman, a food industry veteran with stints on his resume at brands including Essentia, ZICO, KIND and HIPPEAS, who will join as SVP global sales on October 17.

CFO Phil Hardin will leave October 28 to pursue another opportunity, added the firm, noting that his “decision did not involve any disagreement on any matter related to the Company's operations, financial reporting, internal controls, policies or practices.”

He has been replaced by Lubi Kutua, currently VP, financial planning & analysis and investor relations; while Henry Dieu, currently VP, corporate controller has been appointed principal accounting officer.

Cost savings

Over the next 12 months, the reduction in staffing, combined with the elimination of some open positions and the changes to the leadership team, is expected to save $27m in cash operating expense savings, and around $12m in non-cash savings related to previously granted unvested stock-based compensation which would have vested over the next twelve months, said the firm.

In addition, Beyond Meat expects to recognize $3m of one-time non-cash savings related to the reversal of previously expensed, unvested stock-based compensation in the third and fourth quarters of 2022.

Further reading:

Interested in the future of meat?

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FIRESIDE CHAT: Cell-cultured (a.k.a. ‘cultivated’) meat: Foodtech fantasy or the future of meat?​​​​

Dr Elliot Swartz, lead scientist, cultivated meat, The Good Food Institute and Elaine Watson, senior editor, FoodNavigator-USA​​​​

Growing meat from cells in bioreactors instead of living breathing animals should logically be more efficient, as resources are spent on growing only the cells that make up the meat product rather than keeping an animal alive. So is cultivated meat a no brainer, or does the technology face ‘intractable’ problems at food scale?

PANEL: Meat 2.0:​​​​  ​​​​With weakening sales in the alt-meat segment prompting some serious soul-searching, what does the future hold for meat alternatives, how do the available options stack up, what will distinguish the winners from the losers in the category, and how do consumers feel about the next generation of meat?

  • Ethan Brown, ​​​​founder and CEO, Beyond Meat  ​​​​
  • Dr Lisa Dyson, ​​​​founder and CEO, Air Protein​​​​
  • Dr Tyler Huggins​​​​, co-founder, Meati Foods​​​​
  • Abena Foli, ​​​​head of regulatory affairs, Orbillion Bio​​​​
  • MODERATOR: ​​​​Elaine Watson, senior editor, FoodNavigator-USA​​​

REGISTER HERE​ (it's free)!

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