Beyond moves closer to meat price parity with value pack launch

Dive Brief:

  • Beyond Meat will sell Cookout Classic 10-packs of its plant-based burgers beginning the week of June 22 at select retailers in the U.S., the company announced. Cookout Classic packs are available until mid-August or until supplies run out.
  • The value packs have a suggested retail price of $15.99 or $1.60 per patty. On a per-pound basis that works out to $6.40 per pound. USDA data puts traditional beef patties at $5.26 per pound, CNBC reported.
  • Beyond Meat CEO and founder Ethan Brown said in a release the limited-time packs is its “most affordable price point to date” and that will help make the product more accessible to all consumers. 

Dive Insight:

While the market for plant-based meat was already sizzling, the pandemic has only turned up the heat. Offering a lower price point as demand rises and grilling season begins could bring in more hesitant consumers. 

Meatless protein alternative sales skyrocketed 168.5% in the week ending June 6 compared to the year-ago period, according to Nielsen data reported by CNBC. And as the overall sector makes market gains, Beyond Meat has done particularly well.

Figures in a Bank of America analyst report showed that Beyond Meat’s retail sales more than tripled from mid-March to mid-April compared to last year. By the 4-week period ending May 17, Beyond Meat was the No. 1 brand in refrigerated plant-based meat and owned the top four selling items in all of plant-based meat, according to recent SPINS data cited in the company release.

As a company whose revenue was primarily reliant on foodservice sales — which contributed $57.8 million in gross revenue over retail’s $40.6 million, according to the company’s pre-pandemic earnings report — this bump in retail revenue is crucial.

To continue this expedient growth in retail sales, Beyond Meat is not only augmenting the number of items in its product mix by releasing this value pack, but it also announced it is expecting to launch a direct-to-consumer site expected later this summer, which is one of several initiatives aimed at increasing accessibility for its plant-based meat. Beyond, however, isn’t first to the DTC space. The company’s main competitor Impossible Foods recently launched its own bulk packs through a new DTC channel.

But Beyond Meat has succeeded in drastically reducing the price of its plant-based patties to $1.60 each in its value pack. Compare that to Impossible Foods, which is selling a grilling pack with 20 patties for $69.99 or about $3.50 per burger.

With the prices of animal protein rising as a result of meat processing plants becoming coronavirus hotspots and shutting down, many consumers are turning toward plant-based alternatives. This release of Beyond Meat’s value packs is looking to capitalize on that trend.

By making substantial strides toward price parity, Beyond Meat is opening its products up to a new market. Particularly in light of the recession, leaving millions of Americans out of work, it may be in the interest of these plant-based companies to make their products accessible to the masses rather than aiming only at the market primed for premiumization. Given that Beyond Meat maintains a 38% profit margin, there is room for the company to make discounts to attract more customers.

This new bulk offering from the meatless burger company is also catering to households that are still keen on barbecuing and enjoying socially distanced summertime activities. This limited release may be an effort to both test the waters for the product’s popularity as well as give Beyond Meat time to gauge the trajectory of foodservice reopening schedules across the country.

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