The Founder of high-tech plant-based startup Beyond Meat has revealed to Plant Based News that its plant-based patty is outselling traditional meat in some stores.
The burger – which is currently available in the US and Hong Kong and is set to launch soon in Australia, Germany and the UK – is available in nearly 15,000 restaurants and grocery stores across the U.S. The company has sold more than 13 million of the patties.
In an interview with Plant Based News Founder Klaus Mitchell, Beyond Meat Founder and CEO Ethan Brown said interest in the product is ‘really exciting’.
Brown talked about the brand’s strategy of displaying the product in the meat aisle in a bid to put it in front of mainstream consumers, rather than hidden away in a ‘free from’ section.
The gamble has so far paid off. “When we got into the meat case, we thought ‘let’s see if we can really represent plant-based meat, let’s see if we can not get thrown out’ – things like that.
“Now in Southern California – in one of the largest conventional retailers in the country – in the Southern California district we are now the number one selling patty in the meat case…that’s by unit not by weight yet.
“To have that level of interest in the product, in the meat case itself, this soon was really exciting.”
Mitchell asked whether Brown has exclusivity over the position in the meat case – and whether he is concerned by competition ‘cashing in’ on the trail blazed by Beyond Meat.
He said: “I think the category is growing as more and more companies make the right level of investment in building meat from plants to the extent that they are willing to make that investment and develop products that are worthy of being in the meat case. I think that can only help the sector.
“How do we deal with competition in general? We over-invest in resource and development… we have the best scientists in the world, from all over the world we give them targets, and we say ‘go build that’.
If you’re trying to copy what we’re doing, you’re most likely chasing a ghost. Our goal is to make the products we sell on the shelf obsolete. We always try to make those problems obsolete…We have such disregard for our previous product – we just want to make it better each time.”
Brown also revealed that the burger may soon be available in one of the biggest UK supermarkets, saying: “We’re in talks with Tesco.” He added that there are a number of international deals the company is working on ‘but the details aren’t clear yet’.
Talking about Tesco’s plant-based line Wicked Kitchen – launched in collaboration with chefs Derek and Chad Sarno – Brown said the retailer is ‘great’ when it comes to plant-based foods.
He added: “I love Wicked Healthy – and Derek Sarno is a good friend of mine.”