In the strongest market debut so far this year, Beyond Meat shares surged 163% Thursday, giving the maker of plant-based meat substitutes a market value of $3.77 billion.
The company's opening trade of $46 was later than expected, hitting after noon Thursday. Then, after shares soared 125%, trading was paused due to volatility. When trading resumed, the stock rocketed even higher. The company is trading on the Nasdaq under the symbol BYND.
On Wednesday night, Beyond priced its initial public offering at $25 per share, for an implied market value of $1.46 billion. Its IPO price is on the high end of its expected range of $23 and $25 per share. The El Segundo, California-based company first set the range between $19 to $21 a share.
As more Americans embrace a flexitarian diet, cutting down their meat consumption for health and environmental reasons, plant-based meat substitutes are growing in popularity. Beyond's meat alternatives, which range from fake ground beef to burger patties, are designed to more closely mimic the texture and taste of traditional meat. The gluten- and soy-free products use proteins from peas and faba beans and can be found at grocery stores, as well as restaurants like TGI Fridays and Del Taco.
In 2018, Beyond reported revenue of $87.9 million, up 170% from the previous year's net sales of $32.6 million. The company plans to use the proceeds from going public to invest in manufacturing facilities, research and development, and sales and marketing.
Big Food has taken notice of the trend. In the fall, Nestle will start selling its own plant-based burger to American consumers, branding it the Awesome Burger. Tyson Foods sold its minority stake in Beyond because it wants to sell its own plant-based proteins, according to Axios.
Beyond is the latest company to make its debut on the stock market this year. While some, like Levi Strauss & Co. and Zoom, have thrived since their IPOs, others — such as ride-share giant Lyft — have seen their stock tumble.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed restaurants using Beyond Meat. White Castle has partnered with Impossible Foods for their vegetarian slider.