Beyond Meat announced today two new iterations of its plant-based burger, with one version offering a more “meaty” experience and the other being a more nutritious version of it burger, according to the press release.
The new patties don’t have their own dedicated brand names, and in the press announcement are just described by their characteristics. One of the new patties, the juicier/meatier one, will have 35 percent less saturated fat than 80/20 beef. The other new burger, which is being billed as the Beyond’s most nutritious patty yet, will have 55 percent less saturated fat than 80/20 beef. Both new burgers will launch in “early 2021.”
Beyond hinted that this news was coming during its earnings report last week. On that call, Beyond CEO, Ethan Brown, said that its “Beyond Burger 3.0” would make the current version of Beyond “obsolete.”
As a quick aside, this use of “obsolete” is interesting. A little more than a year ago I wrote that as companies like Beyond and Impossible Foods continue to tweak their recipes, food was becoming more like software. From that piece:
The new version of Beyond Meat (and the sister product, Beyond Beef ground) is so much better than the first version. At least for meat eaters and flexitarians who were looking for something like meat, but less ethically and environmentally complicated. As Beyond and Impossible spend more on research and development, they will uncover new ingredients, new combinations and new manufacturing techniques to make their products even better and tastier.
The same can’t be said for traditional animal meat. Sure, there will be varying degrees of quality, but beef is going to always taste and feel like beef, chicken like chicken and pork like pork. The cow (or pig or chicken) is not going to become a different animal.
In other words, this new Beyond Burger 3.0 will one day too, become obsolete. And, there are chances that Beyond will develop the “New Coke” of burgers that people may not like as much. Something to keep an eye on, anyway.
Beyond has been on a product tear this year, debuting plant-based sausage patties, sausage links and meatballs. Oh, and it also helped McDonald’s create its new McPlant sandwich, though the exact details of that relationship remain cloudy.
The timing is certainly right for all these moves. Sales of plant-based meats are on the rise, and were pushed even higher thanks to the pandemic. As a result, both Beyond and Impossible have been in a bit of a back and forth throughout the year, releasing new products, launching D2C channels, vastly expanding at retail and growing internationally.
Given all the back-and-forth, will Impossible announce new iterations to its burgers? The year isn’t over yet…