Beyond Meat tripled its U.S. supermarket sales in the second quarter of 2020 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The California-based vegan meat producer spent around $5.9 million repackaging its products for sale in grocery stores and increased its U.S. supermarket sales by 194.9 percent. With many restaurants still closed or offering limited service, Q2 saw an increase in consumers preparing plant-based food and vegan meat at home.
Net sales increased by 69 percent to $113.3 million, exceeding $100 million in quarterly revenue for the first time ever. But despite the overall increase in sales, Beyond reported a Q2 net loss of $10.2 million. This is primarily due to additional costs and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We had to make a decision. Did we want to sit and try to weather this, and potentially take a step back in our growth trajectory, or did we want to go very aggressively toward the retail sector even if it curved more expensive doing so?” CEO Ethan Brown said in an interview.
During the final two weeks of Q2, Beyond Meat began selling competitively-priced value packs of burgers at retailers such as Walmart and Target. This brought the price of Beyond Burgers closer to that of beef patties and contributed to the heavy increase in sales.
“We had a lot of help from the beef industry itself, because they’ve been experiencing some very high pricing,” said Brown. “You will see us continue to push pricing.”
COVID-19 and Vegan Meat
Demand for vegan food—and meat, in particular—has risen during the coronavirus pandemic.
In addition to Beyond Meat, vegan brands such as Tofurky and UK-based THIS all reported an overall increase in sales. Oat milk experienced a 476.7 percent sales increase during the week ending March 14. According to Nielsen data, vegan meat sales rose by 280 percent in the same week.
Typically, supermarket sales account for around 50 percent of Beyond Meat’s sales around the world. But following the shift in production away from the mostly closed U.S. foodservice sector, this ratio increased to 88 percent.
“If you look at some of the trends, that was the right thing to do,” added Brown. “Because the consumer continues to look for our products irrespective of whether they’re shopping in food service or in retail.”