Tyson Foods, America’s one of the leading meat producer, has taken a decisive step by being the first such company to invest in Beyond Meat. Beyond Meat is a company that produces meat from plant proteins and thereby, aims at reducing the consumption of meat.
Tyson recently announced that it is investing an undisclosed amount for a 5 percent stake in Beyond Meat. Beyond Meat is a company based in El Segundo, California. The company mainly uses proteins from soy and peas to produce meat.
Beyond Meat has started selling Beyond Burger this year. Monica McGurk, a former Coca-Cola executive who joined Tyson in spring as senior vice president in charge of strategy and new ventures shared, “The quality of the Beyond Burger is amazing.” She further added, “We think it’s a game-changing product that gives us exposure to this fast-growing part of the food business.”
People are now moving towards plant- based foods, especially in America. The Plant-Based Foods Association said businesses in the United States, which include Beyond Meat, Califia Farms, and Heidi Ho, rang up $4.9 billion in sales for the 12 months through June and grew faster than the other companies in the food business.
It is found that 70% of the meat eaters used meat substitute at least once a week, in a research conducted jointly last year by the NPD Group, Midan Marketing and Meatingplace, an industry publication. The venture capital arm of General Mills, 301 Inc. has invested in Beyond Meat and in Kite Hill which is also in the plant based meat producing field.
Nevertheless, Tyson which is the big traditional meat producer is the first ever such company to invest in plant- based meat producing company said, Michele Simon. She is the executive director of the Plant-Based Foods Association.
Michele Simon further adds, “The question in my mind with these acquisitions is always why they’re being done.” “The most positive view is that this means the meat industry is shifting away from animal meat to plant-based meat, but I don’t think we know that’s the case yet — it could also be a way of distracting attention from their industrial meat business.”
Ethan Brown, the founder and chief executive of Beyond Meat, explained that the company’s main goal is to take its meat substitutes mainstream. The company has got Don Thompson, the former chief executive of McDonald’s, on its board. It has built relationships with entertainment and sports celebrities like Russell Simmons and Eric Bledsoe.
Mr. Brown further added that the discussions regarding investment started with Hillshire Brands, the maker of Jimmy Dean sausage before Tyson bought Hillshire in 2014. Primarily because they felt that Beyond Meat could produce the same sausage with the use of plant-based proteins.
Ms. McGurk of Tyson stated that there are no plans at present to use Tyson’s extensive production facilities or distribution system to support Beyond Meat. However, they believe that the relationship may develop over time.
Gurk further added “The investment for us is not about an either-or choice, it’s about the ‘and.’ “This is just another form for consumers to enjoy protein as part of their daily diet.”