In my opinion Beyond Meat’s biggest problem is that much of the plantbased meat technologies are now “plug and play”. What took Beyond a decade could now be accomplished in 6 months by a competent team of Food Technologists. Also, many companies like ADM have formulas that can make you competitive overnight.
This is one of the downfalls of being one of the first to market. You have to invent everything yourself at great cost. You then have this enormous amount that needs to be amortised over your product sales. Add in that you eventually become the incumbent in the space and then you have both startups snapping at your heels and the big players bring their enormous resources to get a slice of the market you invented!
The generic nature of many plantbased technologies is behind much of the problems plaguing the space, particularly in the US. All of the products taste and perform much the same, poorly! Too many of the products simply don’t taste good and repeat purchase suffers. We need a step change in performance and a shake out of the industry down to companies whose products perform to consumer’s expectations.
Even better, we need a range of non-animal products that simply taste good in their own right and don’t seek to mimic anything, animal or otherwise. After all, who says a beef hamburger is the ultimate tasty product? No one, it’s simply the best we know of at the moment. There’s nothing to prevent plantbased product surpassing their animal counterparts for taste, texture and anything else.
But until then, unless Beyond Meat can come up with a fourth generation product that’s more than “a meaningful advance” towards being “indistinguishable from its animal protein equivalent” what will be their point of difference?