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Jan 26, 2021

Beyond-Pepsi venture to develop plant-based foods lifts shares

Notable Calls: Boeing, Beyond Meat and Netflix

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Beyond Meat Inc. shares soared after the maker of alternative meat, whose growth model has long relied on high-profile partnerships, said it would team up with one of its biggest collaborators yet: PepsiCo Inc.

The two companies are forming a joint venture focused on creating, producing and marketing new plant-based snacks and drinks, according to a press release Tuesday. Terms of the venture, dubbed The PLANeT Partnership LLC, weren’t disclosed.

Beyond’s shares jumped as much as 24 per cent as of 8:40 a.m. before regular trading in New York. The stock rose 65 per cent in 2020, buoyed by more Americans cooking at home. PepsiCo climbed as much as 1.3 per cent early Tuesday.

Beyond, whose namesake burger was an early entrant in the faux-meat wars, has helped grow its name recognition and reach by partnering with a series of big restaurant chains, from Pizza Hut to Dunkin’. Earlier this month, Taco Bell said it will begin testing a Beyond Meat menu item in the U.S., and it collaborated with McDonald’s Corp. in the creation of plant-based patties for the fast-food giant’s new line of substitute meat products.

Beyond has also been growing distribution rapidly inside grocery stores, an area where PepsiCo commands a lot of shelf space. The maker of Quaker Oats, Doritos chips and Gatorade will bring its marketing, brand-building and distribution weight to the partnership, while Beyond offers its expertise in plant-based protein development and its success with young consumers.

“With PepsiCo’s reach and distribution, Beyond Meat will be able to enter new categories and channels and accelerate bringing these products to markets around the world,” the companies said in an email. The specific portfolio of products is still in development.