Beyond Meat might have some competition coming in from across the pond.
Today news broke that Meatless Farm, a startup based in Leeds, U.K., will sell its products in U.S. Whole Foods stores for six months starting this summer. Founded in 2017, Meatless Farms makes plant-based burgers, ground “beef,” and sausages out of a mixture of pea, rice and soy protein. It currently sells its products in retailers in the U.K., Canada, the UAE, Sweden and Hong Kong.
Shares of Beyond Meat fell as much as 10 percent after the news got out. Clearly potential investors were worried about a new plant-based meat competitor swooping in and threatening Beyond’s retail foothold.
However, I’m not so sure Beyond has anything to worry about. Purely judging from the photos, Meatless Farm’s products don’t have the same trompe l’oeil qualities as Beyond’s beef-like burger patties. They also don’t have the same name recognition.
Most importantly, though, the plant-based meat market is not a zero-sum game. Beyond Meat’s retail success (and Impossible’s production struggles) go to show that consumer’s demand for alternative proteins is not a fleeting trend — it’s here to stay.
While Meatless Farm will certainly benefit from Beyond Meat’s work to take plant-based meat mainstream, the British startup is so small and new that I doubt it will steal any significant portion of their sales. Eventually, as more and more companies start to wake up to the alternative protein trend, the plant-based meat category will start to become pretty saturated. Then Beyond might start to sweat.
Or, you know, when Impossible hits retail shelves later this year.