Beyond Meat taps Tyson Foods veterans as it prepares for fast-food growth next year

Packages of Beyond Meat vegan burger patties are on sale.

Paul Young | Bloomberg via Getty Images

Beyond Meat has stolen two industry veterans from Tyson Foods for executive positions as it prepares for its high-profile launch next year.

Doug Ramsay will take over as Chief Operating Officer. He spent three decades at Tyson, where he oversaw the poultry and McDonald’s business. His experience with the fast food giant will be an asset to Beyond, which signed a three-year global agreement with McDonald’s earlier this year. Beyond also has partnerships with owner Taco Bell Yum Brands and PepsiCo.

Sanjay Shah, Beyond’s former COO, left the company in September after less than two years in a position with delivery service Gopuff. Shah’s resume included time at Tesla and Amazon, but no food or beverage companies.

In addition to Shah’s successor, Bernie Adcock will join as CEO of Supply Chain, a new role for Beyond, and report to Ramsay. He has also worked for Tyson for over 30 years, focusing on operations and supply chain management.

“[Ramsey and Adcock] “They understand better than almost anyone the large-scale production of protein with a cost structure that ordinary consumers can afford,” Ethan Brown, CEO of Beyond Meat, said in an interview.

growth on the table

“Everything we’ve got, whether it’s partnering with McDonald’s, with Yum, with PepsiCo, there’s a tremendous amount of growth on the table, and we need to make sure we have the best operational and supply chain capabilities available to us and our customers.”

Tyson and beyond have a history. Prior to Beyond’s initial public offering, Tyson was an investor in the company but sold his stake as he prepared to launch his line of meat substitutes.

Beyond shares Tuesday closed nearly 6% higher at $71.25. The stock is down 43 percent so far this year, taking its market value down to $4.5 billion.

Investors punished the stock as slowing demand for groceries failed to offset the damage the Covid pandemic has inflicted on the food service business. The interest rate for short has also doubled since July, according to FactSet data, with about 36% of shares sold short.

In its most recent quarter, the company experienced operational and supply chain problems that dented its sales. US revenue fell 13.9% to $67.5 million during those three months.

Brown is more optimistic about the year ahead, but the company has not yet provided a forecast for 2022. For the fourth quarter, Beyond forecasts net sales of $85 million to $100 million with the expectation that operational challenges will continue to affect its results.

“I think what we’ll see next year gives us a chance to really talk to the consumer again, given the number of launches we’re going to have and the potential to create excitement in the retail space because of these activities,” Brown said.

Kicks off with McDonald’s, PepsiCo

McDonald’s is running a test run of its McPlant burger made with a beef substitute Beyond’s at a few US restaurants and has begun selling the meat-free meal in several international markets. Ramon Lagarta, CEO of PepsiCo, told CNBC in September that the company hopes to launch new plant-based foods and drinks made through its joint venture with Beyond in early 2022.

A banner promoting a McDonald’s “PLT” burger with a Beyond Meat vegan pie at one of 28 experimental restaurants in London, Ontario, Canada October 2, 2019.

Mo Doiron | Reuters

With inflation fears home to both businesses and consumers, Brown said, higher prices give Beyond more room to work with the price parity goals of lowering animal meat competitors’ prices on at least one type of meat by 2024, he said. Cows are rising as the company looks to strip its system of costs.

“Now we have an opportunity to come back, especially in the United States and create a more efficient production system,” Brown said, adding, “In general, the inflationary prices you see, the pressures you see in the protein market will favor us.”

Brown said that because the coronavirus omicron variant remains unknown for the future, the company is prepared to address potential challenges and rely on maximizing existing product offerings. The company has offered more than a dozen retail and food service products in the United States and abroad over the past two years. The pandemic affected its business, first boosting retail sales as consumers packed into the store, but then hurting food service sales as restaurants closed.

“I think what we will do [in the face of pandemic-related challenges] It emphasizes the product we have already marketed, because trying to scale during a pandemic and introduce new products can be challenging.”


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