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Jan 7, 2020

Beyond Meat gains on report Impossible Foods won't seek McDonald's deal

Cooked burger patties, featuring Beyond Meat Inc.'s vegetable-based burger recipe blend, wait to be assembled during the launch of the meat-free Neat Burger fast-food joint in London, U.K., on Monday, Sept. 2, 2019. Fast-food chains have been quick this year to offer plant-based meat and dairy substitutes in a race to win over consumers looking to cut down on animal protein, out of environmental or health concerns.

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Faux burger maker Beyond Meat Inc. extended stock-market gains on Tuesday following a report that its main competitor, Impossible Foods Inc., is no longer seeking a deal to be a supplier for fast-food giant McDonald’s Inc.

Impossible Foods Chief Executive Officer Pat Brown said his company wouldn’t be able to produce enough supply for such a big partnership, Reuters reported. Contacted by Bloomberg, Impossible Foods said its CEO’s comments were misinterpreted.

“Our ambition is to be everywhere,” Impossible Foods spokeswoman Rachel Konrad said. “We would never close the door, never abandon a relationship.”

he initial report sent Beyond Meat surging 12 per cent to US$83.89 at the close, the most in almost seven months. The shares pared gains in extended trading after Impossible Foods disputed the Reuters article.

McDonald’s said in an email that the Beyond Meat patties that have been tested at some Canada locations are “exclusive” for the fast-food chain “with a recipe that is made by McDonald’s, for McDonald’s.” The company didn’t mention Impossible Foods.

Beyond Meat declined to comment.

Beyond Meat may already have the inside track. In September, McDonald’s picked Beyond Meat for a test of a plant-based burger in Canada. And Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown said a month later that he expected the test to lead to more work with the fast-food giant.

At the time, McDonald’s said it would sell the patty, known as a P.L.T., which stands for plant, lettuce and tomato, at 28 restaurants in Ontario over a three-month period.

Impossible Foods already has a major partnership with Burger King, however, which produces the Impossible Whopper. Both companies have secured contracts with restaurant companies in recent months as consumers increasingly warm to plant-based products that have the look and taste of meat.

Neither Beyond nor Impossible have the current scale to supply all of McDonald’s 14,000 U.S. locations, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Mike Halen said, noting the size discrepancy between the U.S. and Canadian markets.