Filed Under: Op-ed

The Plant-Based Chicken Comes Home to Roost

Originally published in Wall Street Journal by Rick Berman on November 6, 2019:

Beyond Meat’s stock has tumbled back to Earth after peaking at $234.90 a share in late July. The “plant-based meat” company’s stock closed at $81.45 Tuesday, and it may be the beginning of worse to come. What if the alt-meat industry turns out to be a nothingburger?

Beyond Meat’s current value is six times the size of the entire fake-meat market even though the company’s market share is only 2.1%. Much of the talk about Beyond Meat’s prospects has focused on increased competition, especially from meat industry giants looking to hedge their bets.

Conagra’s Gardein and Kellogg’s Morningstar Farms have established customer bases and brand recognition. In 2017 Maple Leaf Foods, Canada’s largest protein producer, acquired Lightlife and swallowed up 38% of the U.S. plant-based protein market. Now, producers including Tyson, Smithfield and JBS are joining the plant-based party.

But will consumer demand for alt-meat grow, or are consumers merely trying out an expensive curiosity?

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