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After exiting Beyond Meat, Tyson Foods will launch meatless products this summer

Key Points
  • Tyson Foods, once an investor in Beyond Meat, announces that it will roll out its own meatless products starting this summer.
  • Plant-based proteins have been gaining in popularity, even among those who also eat meat.
  • Beyond Meat makes the strongest market debut so far this year on Thursday, surging 163%.
A package of Tyson Foods Inc. Jimmy Dean brand turkey sausage is arranged for a photograph in Tiskilwa, Illinois.
Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

After exiting Beyond Meat, Tyson Foods said that it will roll out its own plant-based meat substitutes beginning this summer.

The Jimmy Dean owner sold its stake in Beyond before the company went public, citing its desire to produce vegetarian meat substitutes under its own umbrella of brands. CEO Noel White told analysts on the quarterly conference call Monday that the plant-based product will launch this summer on a limited basis, with a wider rollout in October and November.

Following Tyson's announcement, Beyond Meat's stock opened down 6% before rebounding as high as 7% against steeper losses in the broader market.

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Beyond made the strongest market debut so far this year on Thursday, surging 163%. The stock has a market value of $3.97 billion, dwarfed by Tyson's own market value of $22.66 billion. Tyson shares gained more than 2% Monday.

Despite the difference in market value, Beyond and other makers of plant-based meat alternatives — such as Impossible Foods — pose a threat to Tyson. Beyond Meat's CEO, Ethan Brown, told CNBC that the company is trying to capture the meat industry's customers. Its gluten- and soy-free products are meant to more closely resemble and taste like meat than previous iterations of veggie burgers.

Although the number of vegans and vegetarians in the U.S. has remained relatively stable over the last decade, more Americans are trying to cut down on their meat consumption and incorporate more plant-based foods in their diets. The U.S. meat substitute market is worth about $1.44 billion, according to Euromonitor International data. By 2023, the market is expected to grow 74% to $2.5 billion.

But it can be difficult for the upstarts to keep up with demand. Impossible Foods apologized last week for shortages, while Beyond had similar struggles in 2017 and 2018. Beyond has said that it will use some of the proceeds from its IPO to invest in its manufacturing facilities.