- Plant-based meat brand Beyond Meat will source three times the plant-based protein it would need to match 2019 sales in 2020 in an act of "conservatism" after supply issues hampered the brand's progress this year, CEO Ethan Brown said on the company's third-quarter earnings call Monday.
- Brown said the company has "dramatically" increased its protein supply and diversified its supplier base to overcome this historical bottleneck. "I just want to make sure that we have enough on-hand," he said, adding that the shelf-life of the protein allows the company to store it for several years if need be.
- Beyond Meat's revenue increased 250% year-over-year in Q3 after adding Subway, Kentucky Fried Chicken and McDonald's to the list of restaurants carrying the pea-based products.
"We are not beholden to some cost tied to a traditional industry or to [an] entrenched supply chain," Brown said. He meant that as a good thing, but the fledgling nature of this latest round of plant-based meat alternatives, which has eschewed stalwarts like soy for pea protein, has shown some growing pains when it comes to the supply chain.
Both Beyond Meat and it's direct competitor Impossible Foods have spent 2019 sprinting to keep up with demand on both production capacity and sourcing. And agricultural firms are taking note. Cargill invested $75 million in pea protein producer Puris in August and Barclay's predicted the space will see $140 billion in sales over the next ten years.
Plus, Beyond Meat has eyes on Europe and Asia in the next year, which Brown said will rely on local production, and not an export model — requiring an even more sophisticated supply chain.
To manage all of this, Beyond Meat hired a Sanjay Shah as Chief Operating Officer in Q3, who joins the company after one year at Tesla and seven years at the director and vice president levels at Amazon.
"It was Sanjay’s extensive experience at Amazon, including serving as Vice President of North American Fulfillment, coupled with a strong background in international operations, including in Southeast Asia, that sparked and sustained our interest in bringing him to the team," Brown said.