Tyson (TSN) Takes on Beyond Meat (BYND) & Alternative-Meat Market

Tyson TSN announced Thursday that it is set to release new plant-based products under its new Raised & Rooted brand. The move seems to be a direct challenge to alternative meat standouts Beyond Meat BYND and Impossible Foods.

One of Tyson’s new products are nuggets made from a pea protein isolate as well as other plant-based ingredients. Additionally, Tyson revealed it will sell “blended burgers.” These burgers will be a blend of Angus beef and pea protein isolate, as Tyson opted to reduce the meat content in the burgers, rather than remove it altogether as its plant-based competitors have.

Meat-alternative competitor Beyond Meat’s stock has soared since its IPO in early May. After an IPO price of $25 a share, the stock peaked at $186.43 after Beyond Meat beat first quarter expectations on June 6. The stock currently sits at $142.19 and has a market cap of over $8 billion. Although the company has been very popular among investors recently, the stock has declined over 20% since hitting its all-time peak on June 10. The company is still well above analysts’ estimates for its 12-month price and as of Wednesday, no Wall Street analysts recommended buying the stock.

Beyond Meat products are currently sold in many stores including Amazon’s Whole Foods AMZN and supercenters such as Meijer and Walmart WMT. Tyson previously held a 6.5% stake in Beyond Meat, but got rid of its ownership as relations between the company became tense when Tyson expressed interest in the meat alternative market. 

Tyson is looking to capitalize on the popularity of meat alternatives, while also trying to outdo its competitors. Tyson, in its press release, stated: “The blended burger…has fewer calories and less saturated fat than the plant-based burgers sold by several competing companies.” With many consumers turning to meat-alternatives in search of a healthier alternative to traditional hamburgers, Tyson may have an advantage in this area over its competitors.

Tyson is also the only company out of the three to offer a chicken alternative. Beyond Meat pulled its chicken strips from stores earlier this year and is currently working on creating a new chicken-alternative. Additionally, Impossible Foods is working on developing a chicken alternative, but little information is known about the product at this time.

One of Tyson’s main competitors, Perdue Farms also announced Wednesday that it will roll out its Chicken Plus line of products. The new line will include chicken nuggets, tenders, and patties that are blended with vegetables.

Consumers will have to wait until later this year to get their hands on the products. Tyson’s blended burgers and completely plant-based nuggets, Perdue’s blended chicken products, and Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods’ completely plant-based burgers give consumers a variety of options. Interested investors should closely watch the sales figures as soon as they are available because it will be important to show what consumers prefer once a more diverse set of options are available.

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