When you think of Tyson Foods, you probably think, “chicken.” As in, an animal that a vegetarian probably won’t want to eat. That’s why Tyson has shelled out some major dough to buy a stake in Beyond Meat, a vegan startup that sells a plant-based protein that purportedly “looks, feels, tastes and acts like chicken without the cluck.”
The chicken giant acquired a 5% stake in Beyond Meat on Monday, the Los Angeles Times reports. You may remember Beyond Meat as the company that created a meatless burger that “bleeds” pulverized beet juice.
With the stake, Tyson is hitching its apple wagon to the vegan company’s star in an attempt to get a cut of the lucrative vegetarian market: it’s an entry into the alternative-foods category, which is growing as consumers look for foods that taste like meat, but aren’t actually made from animals.
“It meets our desire to offer consumers choices and to consider how we can serve an ever-growing and diverse global population, while remaining focused on our core prepared foods and animal protein businesses,” said Monica McGurk, executive vice president of strategy and new ventures at Tyson and president of its Tyson Foodservice division.
The vegan company already has products in 7,500 stores nationwide, and with this fresh influx of cash, it can boost product development and distribution while still standing on its own as a privately held company, Beyond Meat founder and chief executive Ethan Brown says.
“I’m pleased to welcome Tyson as an investor and look forward to leveraging this support to broaden availability of plant protein choices to consumers,” he said.
No other terms of the investment were disclosed.
Chicken giant Tyson Foods buys a stake in vegan start-up Beyond Meat [Los Angeles Times]
by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist