"As we were thinking about how to evolve the brand, we really liked the idea of creating another occasion for people to eat Meati whole cuts ... and there's so many things you can do with that, but snacking, I mean let's face it, snacking is really, really evolving."
Tapping into the growing demand for snacks
Meati released its mycelium-based jerky through its direct-to-consumer website, which relaunched for this product launch. Created at its Mega Ranch in Colorado, the Meati Jerky is available in Original, Pepper, and Sweet Chili flavors and contains 11g of complete protein.
“Jerky was the most logical choice” to expand Meati's portfolio because the company could use the trim from its cutlets and steaks in the new product, Ra said. Meati also saw that as an opportunity to bring its MushroomRoot to the snacking category, given the rise in snacking occasions.
“There's all sorts of stats out there about how Gen Z snacks and doesn't eat meals, but I think it goes much further beyond that. Our research shows that everyone is leaning on snacking a lot more than they ever did before,” Ra said. “With there being fewer meals eaten, and more snacks eaten, there is a huge opportunity to provide something that is nutrient-dense, as well as delicious.”
Meati shifts focuses on profitability amid category struggles
Like others alternative meat companies, Meati has shifted its focus from growth to profitability in 2023 due to high interest rates and funding challenges, Ra explained. Earlier this year, the company announced lay-offs and shared that it plans to close its pilot plant in Boulder, Colorado.
“We raised a Series C extension recently, and then we took a hard look at our employee population, and we did have a round of layoffs. And all of this is in service of a shift in strategy from growing as fast as possible to growing sustainably with an eye toward profitability, and that's really what the new focus has been.”
Meati also is reassessing -- and potentially extending the deadline -- on its initiall goal of hitting $1b in sales by 2025 by optimizing its mega ranch, expanding its retail footprint and cutting costs.
“We still talk about $1bn, its context and category. It just might take a couple of years longer,” Ra said. “Very easily the demand is still way outpacing supply, and so the market is largely going to dictate how fast we grow.”
Outside of the snack category, Meati is also exploring where it can use its MushroomRoot ingredient, which recently received a patent, in new ways, Ra said.
“I think anything that you can imagine is more of a when, not an if. We're all about Meati. We just launched in March. So, in the short term, the company is very much focused on Meati as a brand and these products,” Ra said. “The patent really allows us ... to make these smart choices and know that we can continue to try to work on this other stuff in the background or in the future.”