The vegan ultras have been denied: “fake” meat is a flop

The era of meat it’s not over, at least in the United States. In recent years, companies that proposed meat substitutes in the name of a type of consumption considered more sustainable and respectful of the environment, and presented as healthier, have depopulated in the US market, coming to climb Wall Street: both companies that process alternative products , from soy burgers to those based on vegetable proteins, as well as those they were looking for in the meat developed in the laboratory they have had an investment boom.

The market, however, did not reward many of the most promising expectations. The stock market fate of a company active on both fronts, Beyond Meat, testifies to this. Over the past year Beyond Meat, a company that produces foods designed to replace pork sausages, chicken and beef, has lost 69.74% of its stock on the stock exchange. And if, in any case, today its capitalization is equal to 2.34 billion dollars, the previous value exceeded 7. A lot for a company that, remember Forbes, it does not reach half a billion dollars in annual turnover. To be precise, in 2021 the turnover was equal to 464 million dollars, with a declining trend towards the end of the year. Not much for a company that assumed significant growth margins and in which some of the biggest names in US financial capitalism had placed important bets: Baillie Gifford & Co. with 13.48%, Vanguard with 7.82% and BlackRock with 3.37% are the main shareholders of the company that aims to replace meat.

In 2022 Beyond Meat expected to gain ground and initially expected a turnover close to a billion dollars. But in the second quarter of the year Beyond Meat posted revenues of just $ 147 million. Very little for a company that, starting from its base in Los Angeles, had a precise idea: to make its way into the market with vegan burgers and similar meat alternatives; later, forcing the way to “artificial” meat. Which, we recall, is the result of a process that involves the removal of cells from a live and unharmed animal and their growth and replication in steel containers called bioreactors where hormones are added. Hormones, called “growth factors”, are needed to promote this development, just like in an animal’s body. The San Francisco Chronicle reminds that California is the frontier of these companies, to which the Sacramento local government has opened a $ 5 million research credit line, and besides Beyond Meat he cites “Wild Type, which is recreating salmon; Eat Just , which is developing chicken together with Wagyu; and Upside, which also starts with chicken but has several proteins in development. ” He companies straddling the hi-tech, biotechnology and food sectors that seek their El Dorado in the favorable investment climate of California (a liberal and environmental stronghold, by the way). But the market, to date, does not seem to get the message.

Beyond Meat has suffered a blow in the most traditional of American food contexts: that of McDonald’s. The well-known restaurant chain introduced Beyond Meat’s vegan burger to its menus last November but, note Milan Finance, “Btig analyst Peter Saleh wrote in a note last month that McPlant’s sales have been disappointing” in the six hundred locations where McDonald’s tested it. And “Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown said in May that McPlant is selling well in the UK and Austria. Americans have been deaf to this innovation, prompting McDonald’s to end the experiment.” The title of Beyond Meat, which a year ago was over $ 120 per share, is now around 36 while the market is also in doubt on the rest of the front. In general, the other key business of Beyond Meat and similar companies, synthetic meat substitutes, has also stalled in recent months: after growing by 27% in 2020, to 7 billion dollars, it has experienced trends. moderate in 2021 settling at a simple + 6.2%. Dave MacLennan, CEO of Cargill (a US multinational that supplies pea protein to Beyond Meat), said in July 2021 that companies operating in the alternative meat products sector would soon be cannibalizing the American market. As for the traditional meat market, Fortune Business Insights says its US business was worth $ 170.38 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $ 170.38 billion in 2020. 215.76 billion dollars by 2028. Resulting in full health. While alternative products to meat risk seeing on the stock exchange the same outcome of their adventures of another stock-industrial bubble linked to another typical liberal consumption trend, that of cannabis. Whose securities promised billionaire earnings only to turn out to be wisps gone, literally, up in smoke.

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About Eric Wilson

The variety offered by video games never ceases to amaze him. He loves OutRun's drifting as well as the contemplative walks of Dear Esther. Immersing himself in other worlds is an incomparable feeling for him: he understood it by playing for the first time in Shenmue.

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