Beyond Meat’s stock surged this week following a deal with Walmart that will triple the alternative-meat company’s distribution.
Shares of Beyond Meat jumped 10.6% after the announcement Tuesday, propelling the company to a new high of $167.57. The expansion further cements Beyond’s role in the marketplace as a product for vegetarians and carnivores alike. The plant-based patties are currently available in 800 stores and will soon hit shelves in 2,400 locations following the deal.
“It’s really more of the meat market now,” said Donald McLee, an analyst at Berenberg Capital Markets. Analysts estimate the overall protein market is valued at $1.5 trillion globally and $270 billion in the U.S.
The Covid-19 crisis has shifted consumers’ dietary habits as consumers cook frequently and gravitate towards more plant-based diets. Vegan-meat sales have skyrocketed, increasing by 264% since 2019, according to Nielsen.
“All that growth isn’t coming from just vegetarians,” said McLee.
Beyond Meat has seized this opportunity to appeal to a wider range of customers by expanding its product offerings to include sausage and meatball imitations and decreasing costs to consumers.
Impossible Foods, Beyond Meat’s largest rival, which uses soy rather than plant-based ingredients in their products, had debuted at 2,100 Walmart locations this June. Impossible patties also sell for $1 less than Beyond’s burgers, making it the cheaper option for consumers. The recent expansion will catch Beyond Meat up to its competitor. Beyond Meat also debuted a more affordable 10-pack “cookout classic” offering in Walmart and Target this summer. However, meat imitations still cost around $9 per pound, nearly double the average cost of ground beef.
Building retail partnerships is a key Beyond Meat’s strategy, along with securing affiliations with fast-food chains like Subway and Wendy’s and offering direct-to-consumer buying options online.
“Walmart has been a terrific partner and we’re excited to strengthen that partnership in depth and breadth as we look to offer more Beyond Meat products at more Walmart locations, furthering our commitment to increasing accessibility of plant-based meat,” said Chuck Muth, chief growth officer of Beyond Meat.
Walmart has nearly 5,000 locations in the U.S., where Beyond Meat could look to expand.