'No party admitted liability or wrongdoing...' Beyond Meat and former co-packer Don Lee Farms settle dispute

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Image credit: Beyond Meat
Image credit: Beyond Meat

Related tags Beyond meat Don Lee Farms plant-based meat Meat alternatives plant-based

Beyond Meat and former co-packer Don Lee Farms have agreed to settle an ugly five-year legal dispute prompted by the early termination of a supply contract in spring 2017.

According to an SEC filing from Beyond Meat​ issued Tuesday, the two, who have been squaring up in Los Angeles Superior Court​ for the past few days, have entered into a confidential written settlement agreement and mutual release that dismisses all claims and cross-claims asserted with prejudice.

The terms of the settlement “did not have a material impact on Beyond Meat’s financial position or results of operations​,” added the firm, which is separately being sued by Don Lee Farms in California over on-pack protein claims​ - a case which according to court filings has recently been referred to private mediation.

No party admitted liability or wrongdoing in connection with the settlement. Both sides are satisfied with the outcome.” ​Read more about the case HERE​.

'Our mission, brand, and long-term opportunity endure'

The news was released shortly after Beyond Meat 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 said 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​​​, 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."

*The case is Don Lee Farms vs Savage River Inc (d.b.a. Beyond Meat) Case #: BC662838 in Los Angeles County Superior Court, CA.​ 

Interested in the future of meat?

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Check out our upcoming digital summit, Futureproofing the Food System​​​​ (Nov 15-17), which will dedicate one of its six bite-sized sessions to The Future of Meat. REGISTER HERE​​​​ (it's free)!​

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, ​​​​co-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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