After testing, they do not take it back. A nightmare for the company. Artificial meat, made from plants and marketed since 2013 by Beyond Meat, is experiencing an endless descent into hell. Sales will drop 9-14% this year, according to its internal figures, despite the presence of these traditional meat substitutes in more than 5,000 American supermarkets. The public is turning its back on its products in the face of inflation and increasing competition.
Since July 2021, the company has seen its market capitalization collapse by more than 90%, going from a share at more than $150 to a ticket of just $13. Beyond Meat is now worth less than $1 billion, more than 10 times less than it was even last year. Doubts increase. The bubble implodes. The international rollout will wait.
“We remain confident in our ability to deliver the expected long-term growth and impact of our global brand”, announced Ethan Brown, the boss of Beyond Meat, no echo or support. Investors no longer believe it. It must be said that internally, the problems are also increasing. Financial problems led to 200 layoffs, the equivalent of 20% of the workforce. Even the COO is gone. But for him, the reasons were more related to his violent behavior… Atmosphere.
Negative operating margin
Beyond Meat’s steaks, which even McDonald’s was eyeing, are in a tough spot. Its leaders recognized that the increased competition was a problem for it, as did current inflation turning households to prefer to buy cheaper products (and therefore return to more classic and cheaper meats). The company’s revenue for 2022 will be between $400 million and $425 million, already a long way from 2021 levels of between $470 million and $520 million. The operating margin, negative for the first six months of the year, could continue to make the company a loss-making company for the second half.
To please, the company continues to multiply its products and attacks in particular the substitutes of the chicken today, after having sought to compete with the beef steak. There’s no shortage of imagination: chicken popcorn without chicken, chicken nuggets without chicken… all with 50% less fat than the equivalent of animal origin. Faced with uncertain demand, however, Beyond Meat cannot continue to offer new products every week. Over the first six months of the year, it spent $275 million in cash, to which must also be added $1.1 billion of convertible debt on the balance sheet.