Beyond Meat is looking a little thin lately, especially considering the repeated blows the fake meat market has taken since 2021. Now it’s becoming more clear the company’s profits have been butterflied and pounded into a thin morsel of what they once were.
On Friday, the company told investors it was planning to cut nearly a fifth of its global workforce, equalling about 200 employees. It’s to make up for an apparent 23% reduction in overall profits quarter to quarter, and an expected 2022 revenue of around $400 to $425 million, equivalent to between 9% to 14% less than 2021’s profits. The company originally expected revenues to land somewhere between $470 to $520 million.
Beyond Meat had already announced it was cutting 4% of its workforce back in August when at the time it was also concerned about a lost revenue outlook.
The cuts to the company’s workforce is expected to save the company somewhere around $39 million over the next year. Trimming the fat, so to speak, the company also said several top executives, including the head of growth and their chief financial officer were on their way out, according to a SEC filing revealed Friday.
If you’re thinking these puns are a little on the nose, then I shouldn’t mention that a former exec at Beyond Meat, Doug Ramsey, was recently arrested for a brawl where he allegedly chomped down on another man’s face outside a college football game in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He was charged with third-degree battery and making terroristic threats, according to reports. In the regulatory filing Beyond Meat said Ramsey has also parted ways with the company. Ramsey had been with Beyond Meat since December.
The company intends to release its full third quarter results Nov. 9, so the company may explain more of what it plans to do to put more of its products in consumers’ mouths going forward. The fake meat market has come under strain since 2021, according to a recent report by the Financial Times. While sales of fake meat went skyward in 2020, they declined overall both in 2021 and 2022, especially as inflationary pressure has made plant-based meats premium prices more unappetizing for consumers.
While the price of a pound of Beyond ground meat is close to $9, a pound of actual ground beef usually costs around half that in most supermarkets.
Though there’s a market effect taking place, there has been a concerted pushback among some conservatives toward fake meat as well. In August, when Cracker Barrel announced on Facebook it was going to add plant-based sausages from Beyond Meat’s main competitor Impossible Foods, some of its customers reacted with intense disdain. While some 11,000 commenters were favorable to more menu options, others claimed the company was being “woke.” Cracker Barrel has had to walk a strange line since, not wishing to alienate its customer base of tired early morning or late-night interstate highway drivers.
Personally, I have had good experiences with both Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat on the whole, especially as I’ve worked to drastically cut back the amount of meat I regularly consume to just once or twice a week at most. Impossible brand’s chicken nuggets, I hear, are also pretty tasty. Beyond chicken simply tastes like chicken, and that’s all the better.
Since eating meat has become something of a political issue, let’s not forget that the beef industry is an incredibly resource intensive endeavor that also leaves an incredibly high carbon footprint. The problem seems to remain fake meat’s high price tag and low availability—which cuts off many from adopting a low-meat diet.