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May 6, 2021

Beyond Meat shares tumble as restaurant closures weigh on sales

Plant-based space expanding, demand is strong in Canada: Lovingly Made Ingredients founder

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Beyond Meat Inc.’s sales in the first quarter missed Wall Street’s expectations as the maker of plant-based meat substitutes grappled with lingering slowdowns and closures of restaurants, stadiums and campuses that account for a significant portion of its business. The shares fell in late trading.

  • Net revenue climbed 11 per cent to US$108.2 million in the period ending April 3, according to a statement Thursday. Still, that fell short of the US$113.2 million average of analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. An adjusted loss of 42 cents a share also missed estimates.

Key insights

  • Beyond Meat has had a bumpier pandemic than some peers in packaged foods, which have been riding the wave of busy supermarkets. While Beyond has also seen surges in grocery sales and has been rolling out more products recently, its heavy reliance on restaurant and other food-service customers has been a challenge. In the statement, Chief Executive Officer Ethan Brown described the return of restaurant and food-service demand as a “slow thaw.”
  • The company has made several announcements in the past few weeks that could ease investor anxiety, though, including a new burger, European retail expansion and the opening of its production plant in China. Bloomberg News also recently reported plans for the launch of a faux chicken product this summer.
  • While volume sales were up in the quarter, that was partially offset by lower pricing through promotions and larger packages. The company has long focused on cutting prices to better compete with meat, and has also been forced to compete with rival Impossible Foods’ recent price cuts.
  • Brown said the company is “cautiously returning to the practice of issuing guidance.” The company sees net revenue in a range of US$135 million to US$150 million in the second quarter, or as much as 32 per cent higher than the same period a year earlier. The company still isn’t providing longer term guidance, given uncertainty amid the ongoing pandemic. The market sees second-quarter revenue at US$142 million, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Market reaction

  • Beyond Meat shares fell as much as 11 per cent after regular trading in New York before paring some of the loss. The stock fell 4.8 per cent this year through Thursday’s close.