Beyond Meat/PepsiCo

Speculation on vegan jerky snack

KFC serves Beyond Meats plant-based chicken.
IMAGO / Levine Roberts
KFC serves Beyond Meats plant-based chicken.

USA, El Segundo. Reports have circulated on the first product launch by Beyond Meat and PepsiCo's joint venture. Product samples of a vegan jerky snack were handed out to customers, while the company has yet to make an official statement.

According to Bloomberg, the PLANeT Partnership plans to launch a plant-based jerky as its first product. Spokespeople for Beyond Meat and PepsiCo's joint venture focused on plant-based snacks and drinks declined to comment or confirm the report. The company would be entering a highly competitive market, as numerous plant-based jerky snacks are already available in stores.

At the beginning of 2021, Beyond Meat and PepsiCo announced the formation of The PLANeT Partnership, a joint venture focusing on creating, producing, and marketing plant-based snacks and drinks. The following September, PepsiCo CEO Ramon Laguarta said that the company was targeting the beginning of 2022 as the release date for their first product launch.

A successful launch might help Beyond's position on the stock market. It had recently suffered due to a decline in consumer interest after soaring sales in 2020 had flattened out. Short sellers who speculate on declining stock prices had been piling on Beyond's stock. According to the Financial Times, Beyond Meat has become one of the most shorted companies on the US stock market.

The Financial Times cites US short seller Jim Chanos, one of the more notable bears, who claimed that the plant-based meat producer had ceased to be a growth company. Supposedly positive press releases, such as executive hirings from the food industry and collaboration agreements with fast-food chains, failed to have a lasting effect on share prices, the FT noted.

Maybe soaring shares after recent announcements by McDonald's to expand its test of the plant-based McPlant burger and KFC's limited launch of Beyond Fried Chicken will help to shore up Beyond's stock price.

Even though the plant-based meat sector's growth as a whole has leveled off, enthusiastic investment into alternative protein foods continues to influence the market.

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