Beyond Meat is a Los Angeles-based producer of plant-based meat substitutes founded in 2009 by Ethan Brown.
The company was founded as a California-based startup by Ethan Brown in 2009. The company has received venture funding from Kleiner Perkins, Obvious Corporation, Bill Gates, Biz Stone, the Humane Society and Tyson Foods. The company began selling its chicken-free mock chicken products in Whole Foods supermarkets across the US in April 2013. In 2014, it developed a simulated beef product.
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.
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.
Whole Foods introduced the company to the food manufacturing company Don Lee Farms, and Don Lee Farms became the exclusive manufacturer of the Beyond Burger product for Beyond Meat under an agreement established in 2016.
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 February 2018, Beyond Meat's supplier Don Lee Farms began selling its own branded meatless burger products through Costco stores, saying that Don Lee Farms was the first company to produce a certified organic vegan burger that looks, cooks, and tastes like a conventional hamburger. Like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, the burgers made by Don Lee Farms used beet juice to produce a "bleeding" effect.
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.
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.
In August 2019, a KFC restaurant in Atlanta, tested Beyond Fried Chicken as a menu option. The product sold out in five hours, and outsold a typical week of popcorn chicken sales. A tweet by KFC after the product had sold out described it as a "Kentucky Fried Miracle".