Meatless meat, usually made from vegetables, was supposed to push meat consumption substantially lower than it ever has been in the US. A decrease in meat production would slow climate change. Methane from cows is a major contributor to greenhouse gasses. In addition, meat consumption in large quantities is bad for health. Meatless meat was an option to cut down on meat-eating-related illnesses.
Meatless meat has gone from a promising industry to one that has nearly collapsed. One of the best signs of this is the decline of the meatless meat industry. Beyond Meat is a perfect example of this with a share price that has dropped nearly 90% in the last two years to $10.
Beyond Meat’s mission is “By shifting from animal to plant-based meat, we can positively affect the planet, the environment, the climate and even ourselves.” Environmentalists touted meatless meat as an alternative to meat that tastes exactly like meat. However, based on the company’s sales, the great majority of Americans did not care.
The University of Michigan released a study that documented that a Beyond Burger, one of Beyond Meat’s products, had a lower environmental impact than a quarter-pound beef burger. It produced fewer gas emissions. Beef production used up more land and required more water. Again, no one cared.
Meatless meat was never a success. Beyond Meat’s annual revenue run rate is just over $300 million and it loses money. Beef sales in the US run about $30 billion. Beyond Meat’s investors should have looked at that when the company started in 2009.