Beyond Meat Falters as McPlant Comes in

McDonald’s announces its own proprietary faux meat products, even as demand wanes after COVID-19.

November 12, 2020

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Earlier this year, shoppers filled their carts with Beyond Meat’s plant-based meat products as they stuffed their freezers during the pandemic. But that buying frenzy slowed significantly, executives said, while food retailers noticed a retail revenue drop of 11.1% in the third quarter from a year earlier, according to the New York Times.

This week, Beyond Meat reported that its quarterly earnings fell short of expectations. At the same time, the announcement of McDonald’s new plant-based product line, dubbed McPlant, raised concerns about the two companies’ relationship.

The plant-based meat company surprised investors when it reported that its third-quarter revenue had only climbed 2.7% from the previous year and that higher pandemic-related expenses resulted in a net loss of $19.3 million in the quarter, compared with net income of $4.1 million a year ago.

This week, McDonald’s announced that it will introduce McPlant to certain markets in 2021 but offered few other details. Earlier this year, McDonald’s ran a pilot in Canada featuring Beyond Meat’s products, and Beyond Meat reported that it had developed a patty for the McPlant line. McDonald’s executives said McPlant could eventually include burgers, chicken substitutes and breakfast sandwiches, but they were vague about who their suppliers would be.

“We haven’t made a decision yet about how we’re going to be and which suppliers are supporting our global rollout,” said Chris Kempczinski, CEO, McDonald’s.