Beyond Meat announces layoffs after lower sales in the second quarter;  not a word about the McPlant burger

Plant-based meatmaker Beyond Meat said Thursday that it will lay off 4% of its workforce after a difficult second quarter in which its higher-priced products were overlooked by cost-conscious customers.

El Segundo, California-based Beyond Meat said its revenue fell 1.6% to $147 million. That was below Wall Street’s forecast of $149 million, according to analysts surveyed by FactSet. The company reported a net loss of $97 million, or $1.53 per share, which was also higher than analysts had expected.

Beyond Meat President and CEO Ethan Brown said customers facing food price inflation switched to cheaper brands of plant-based meat or bought animal meat. Brown said the results heightened the importance of the company’s long-term goal of achieving price parity with animal-derived meat.

Brown said Beyond Meat’s ground beef currently costs $8.35 per pound. That compares with an average of $4.90 per pound for ground animal meat, he said.

“In a somewhat unfortunate way, it’s reinforcing our strategy and it’s pushing and challenging us to try to get costs out of our system as fast as we can,” Brown said Thursday on a conference call with investors.

US retail sales increased 2.2% thanks to sales of Beyond Meat Jerky, a new product introduced as part of a partnership with PepsiCo. But other products, including plant-based burgers and chicken, saw lower sales.

Beyond Meat did not provide any update on its partnership with Chicago-based McDonald’s, which recently completed a US trial of McPlant, a burger it developed in partnership with Beyond Meat. McDonald’s has also not confirmed its future plans for the burger in the US.

Beyond Meat did not immediately say how many employees would be leaving the company. It employed 1,419 people, including 311 full-time contract workers, at the end of 2021, according to its annual report.

Shares of the company were flat in after-market trading on Thursday.

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