Beyond Meat Faces Doubts Over McDonald’s Collaboration

Kristin Snyder

Kristin Snyder is dot.LA's 2022/23 Editorial Fellow. She previously interned with Tiger Oak Media and led the arts section for UCLA's Daily Bruin.

Beyond Meat Faces Doubts Over McDonald’s Collaboration
Photo by Visual Karsa on Unsplash

Beyond Meat’s high-profile collaboration with McDonald’s is not meeting expectations, with underwhelming sales of the plant-based McPlant burger triggering concerns from Wall Street analysts.

On Monday, analysts at investment bank Piper Sandler downgraded the El Segundo-based food tech company to an underweight rating, sending Beyond Meat’s stock down more than 5% before the opening bell. Shares subsequently rallied to close the day up 1%, at $49.14 per share.


The downgrade came on the back of a tepid report on the McPlant’s rollout last week by analysts at another investment bank, BTIG, who described the burger’s sales performance as “underwhelming” after examining sales at 600 McDonald’s locations across the Bay Area and Dallas-Fort Worth region. According to BTIG, McDonald’s franchisees reported that “they don’t see enough evidence to support a national rollout [of the McPlant] in the near future”—with its lower sales volumes consequently “slowing down service times, as the product was being cooked to order.”

The analysts noted that while McDonald’s was expecting to sell 40 to 60 of the plant-based patties each day, its locations in the Bay Area and Dallas Fort-Worth were only selling 20 per day. Sales at rural East Texas franchises were even more anemic, numbering between three and five sandwiches per day. While remaining open to the product’s viability in “higher income, urban markets,” BTIG said “a wide-scale launch [of the McPlant] seems a ways off at this point.”

The McPlant’s disappointing sales follow Beyond Meat’s recent struggle to find its financial footing. Despite the plant-based food industry in the U.S. surpassing $7.4 billion in market value, Beyond Meat’s shares have fallen roughly 69% since June 2021, with the company posting net losses exceeding $182 million last year (including $80 million in the fourth quarter alone). While the McPlant has underwhelmed thus far, plant-based burgers at large continue to grow in viability, with U.S. sales totalling $1.4 billion last year—representing 1.4% of total meat market share.

Besides its partnership with McDonald’s, Beyond Meat has also teamed with fast food conglomerate Yum Brands to offer plant-based alternatives at KFC and Pizza Hut restaurants.

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