Beyond Meat is a Los Angeles-based producer of plant-based meat substitutes founded in 2009 by Ethan Brown. The company's initial products became available across the United States in 2012. The company has products designed to simulate chicken, beef, and pork sausage. As of 2020, Beyond products are widely available in most U.S. grocery stores, and the company's web site lists availability at over 60 restaurant chains and venues such as stadiums and campus cafeterias.
The company was founded as a California-based startup by Ethan Brown in 2009. The company has received venture funding from GreatPoint Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, Obvious Corporation, Bill Gates, Biz Stone, the Humane Society and Tyson Foods. The company began selling its plant-based chicken products in Whole Foods supermarkets across the US in April 2013. In 2014, it developed a simulated beef product.
As of 2014 , the company's product offerings consisted of Beyond Chicken and Beyond Beef. The company's two flavours of imitation ground beef product are made from pea proteins, canola oil, and various seasonings. The company announced in 2014 that it had begun development and testing of a new product called "The Beast". The vegetable protein-based burger patties were taste tested by the New York Mets during a pregame event.
In 2014 Beyond Meat expanded its presence from 1,500 to 6,000 stores across the US.
The soy-free vegan burger patties branded as "The Beast" were released in February 2015. The Beast Burger contained 23 grams of protein and has micronutrients added during manufacturing.
Tyson Foods purchased a 5% stake in Beyond Meat in October 2016. It sold its 6.5% stake and exited the investment in April 2019, ahead of the company's initial public offering.
In December 2017, the company announced a vegan alternative to pork sausage called "Beyond Sausage". The three varieties of "sausage" were called Bratwurst, Hot Italian, and Sweet Italian. As of July 2019, the company was producing plant-based products for burgers, beef, beef crumbles, and sausage.
In June 2018, Beyond Meat opened its second production facility in Columbia, Missouri, resulting in a three-fold increase of the company's manufacturing space. The company also claimed to have 27,000 different points of distribution for their products in the United States. In July, the company was rolling out their products to 50 international markets, partnering with Tesco in the UK and Tim Hortons and A&W in Canada. In July 2019, Dunkin' Donuts announced that they would begin selling breakfast sandwiches using the Meatless Sausage product in Manhattan, with plans for national distribution beginning on November 6, 2019.
Also in July 2018, Beyond Meat obtained non-GMO certification through The Non-GMO Project. The third-party organization conducted a one-year review of the brand to ensure that all ingredients, suppliers and manufacturing facilities are free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
In July 2018, Beyond Meat opened a new R&D lab in El Segundo, California. The 26,000-square foot facility is an investment toward building plant-based meat. The research & development center houses nearly 100 employees who work in eight distinct labs.
In September 2018, Beyond Meat received a Champions of the Earth award from the United Nations. This sought to recognize the company’s sustainability efforts beyond the product such as swapping plastic packaging trays to compostable tray for use in their Beyond Sausage.
In March 2019, a civil suit was filed against Beyond Meat by its former business partner, Don Lee Farms, after Beyond Meat switched to using different suppliers for its products. Don Lee Farms alleged breach of contract, and further alleged that they had expressed "significant concerns" about food safety protocols at Beyond Meat's facility.
As of July 2019, Beyond Meat had a market value of US$11.7 billion, following a value of $3.8 billion on the day of its initial public offering, May 2, 2019. Beyond Meat trades on the United States NASDAQ exchange under the symbol BYND.
In June 2019, the New Zealand restaurant Hell Pizza used the company's product for a "burger pizza" without disclosing that its "medium-rare burger patty" was not meat. The local Ministry for Primary Industries launched an investigation after several complaints, and concluded that the product description did not meet the food standards code, but declined to take formal action against the company.