Beyond Meat Shares Fall on Dimmer Than Expected Forecasts

Beyond Meat Shares Fall on Dimmer Than Expected Forecasts
Beyond Meat's company logo is displayed on a screen during the IPO at the Nasdaq Market site in New York, on May 2, 2019. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

Beyond Meat Inc. forecast annual revenue below estimates on Thursday, hitting its share price, as it faced stiffer competition amid flat demand for plant-based protein.

The California-based company said it expects revenue of $560 million to $620 million for 2022, compared with estimates of $637.3 million, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Sales to U.S. grocers, convenience stores, and other retailers declined 19.5 percent in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31.

Rivals including Tyson Foods and Kellogg recently entered the fray with big discounts to get more people to trial their products.

U.S. retail sales in the plant-based meat category fell 0.4 percent last year versus 45 percent growth in 2020, Beyond Meat Chief Executive Officer Ethan Brown said during an earnings call.

"We experienced intense increased competition during the period when the size of the prize did not expand," he said.

Those remarks echoed comments made by rival Maple Leaf Foods Inc., parent of Lightlife Foods, earlier on Thursday.

Maple Leaf Chief Operating Officer Curtis Frank said during an earnings call that many consumers tried plant-based proteins early on but did not repeat purchases.

Beyond Meat posted a larger than expected loss of $1.27 per share in the fourth quarter, versus estimates for a loss of 71 cents, as it spent heavily on marketing and incurred high manufacturing costs due to supply chain disruptions.

Net revenue was $100.7 million in the quarter, compared with $101.9 million a year earlier. Analysts polled by Refinitiv had expected $101.4 million.

Brown said growth should resume this year, in part as Beyond Meat executes on partnerships with McDonald's Corp. and KFC and launches a new product line with PepsiCo Inc. in coming weeks—which Brown said he was snacking on during the call.

By Praveen Paramasivam and Hilary Russ