Beyond Meat, the company known for plant-based burgers designed to look, taste and cook like meat, is getting into plant-based steak.
But the new product, meant to mimic an expensive cut of beef, arrives as interest in the plant-based sector appears to be ebbing.
On Monday, the company launched Beyond Steak in over 5,000 Kroger and Walmart (WMT) locations across the country. It’s also available at some Albertsons locations, as well as at other retailers.
Each 10-ounce package contains seared plant-based “steak tips” in bite-sized pieces, and is priced at $7.99. The product is made of ingredients including fava beans and wheat gluten, according to a spokesperson.
“Beyond Steak is a highly anticipated expansion of our popular beef platform,” said Dariush Ajami, chief innovation officer at Beyond Meat, in a statement announcing the new product Monday. The product “delivers the taste and texture of sliced steak.”
Plant-based meats have become more popular in recent years, and sales grew during the pandemic. But recently, interest has fallen off.
“Sales are slowing following the market’s pandemic-driven growth in 2020, as initial trial of [plant-based meat alternatives] has not translated to sustained category engagement,” said Caleb Bryant, associate director of food and drink reports at market research company Mintel, in a recent report.
He added that, as grocery prices soar, consumers may become more interested in natural, inexpensive, plant-based proteins like legumes.
It’s proven to be a tough time for Beyond Meat (BYND).
“We … recognize that progress for us and for the sector is taking longer than expected,” CEO Ethan Brown said during an August analyst call discussing second-quarter results. However, “we have a clear view of our vast long-term opportunity.”
Earlier this month, the company said that its former COO Doug Ramsey was leaving permanently. The company suspended Ramsey in September after he allegedly bit a man’s nose following a Arkansas football game.
The company also announced plans to lay off 200 employees, about 19% of its workforce, as part of an effort “to drive more sustainable growth,” according to Brown.
It’s share price has taken a dive, falling from around $65 at the start of the year to about $12 today. In the second quarter of this year, net sales fell 1.6% to $147 million year over year.
— CNN’s Paul R. La Monica and Parija Kavilanz contributed to this report.