02 May 2019

Beyond Meat’s $1.2bn IPO valuation puts the plant-based behemoth among the unicorns, could other innovative vegan products benefit?

Plant-based meat pioneers Beyond Meat will debut on Wall St in the coming weeks, and are valued at $1.2bn, placing them among ‘unicorns’ – private companies valued at over $1bn. With their rivals making inroads into traditionally ‘meat-only’ spaces such as fast-food restaurants, plant-based food companies are becoming an attractive investment opportunity for the future.

With the global meat market estimated at a value of $1.4tn the attraction is easy to see. If plant-based alternatives can take even a small bite out of that market then the returns could be substantial, especially if consumer habits can mirror the success seen in plant-based milk alternatives.

Highlighting the growing market for plant-based foods, even meat companies like Tyson are backing startups creating new meat alternatives, and fast-food outlets like Burger King and Del Taco are being quick to respond to the consumer demand by researching and introducing plant-based meat alternatives to their menus.

In fact, if consumers continue to embrace plant-based meat alternatives the key challenge that might limit growth could be the availability of plant-based proteins needed to meet demand.

Speaking to The Guardian about why the meat and dairy sectors are so ripe for disruption, Dan Altschuler Malek, a venture capital partner at New Crop Capital, an early investor in Beyond Meat, said, “We believe the global food system is broken and one of the contributors is animal agriculture which has caused significant damage to the environment. At some point, the planet will hold 9 billion-plus people, and the reality is there are not enough resources to sustain current levels of protein consumption.”