According to Ethan Brown, the founder of Beyond Meat, 93 percent of people purchasing the Beyond Burger are not vegan or vegetarian.
In a recent interview with CNBC, Brown revealed that most of the customers purchasing the brand’s plant-based patty – which looks, cooks, and tastes like beef – are actually meat-eaters. People are even buying the burger alongside real meat products, which Brown sees as a “really important breakthrough.”
He explained, “tens of millions of dollars have been invested into researching this product and making it better and making it more real meat like.” He added, “I think we are… 99 percent of the way there. It’s close enough that people eating it enjoy it the same way that they enjoy actual ground beef.”
The patty is more environmentally-friendly than beef, producing 90 percent fewer gas emissions than its cow-derived counterpart. It also uses 46 percent less energy, 99 percent less water, and 93 percent less land.
Selling its vegan products in the meat counters has been a tactic of Beyond Meat’s since its burger first went on the market. And it seems to be working. The new statistics from Brown have increased significantly since last year when 70 percent of the brand’s customers were meat-eaters.
“Initially there was some pushback to selling plant-based meat next to [regular] meat, but because we started small and proved the concept with Whole Foods, and then Safeway in Northern California, we had data to show other retailers that it was working, so we didn’t keep having to have that same conversation again and again,” the brand’s executive chairman Seth Goldman told Food Navigator last year.
The company also offers the Beyond Sausage – a vegan sausage that sizzles and tastes similar to pork – which is sold in the same way. It also recently revealed its plans to make new meaty products, including bacon and even steak.
“Our goal has never been to be the top-selling veggie burger company, although we obviously want vegans and vegetarians to enjoy our products,” Goldman said. “But we’ve never aspired to be the leader of 5 percent of the market, we’re going after the other 95 percent.”