Beyond Meat Faces More Troubles as It Slashes Forecasts, Cuts Jobs

Already grappling with its COO’s alleged nose-biting antics, the faux-meat maker is now lowering its forecasts and issuing pink slips amid slowing demand.

Faux-meat maker Beyond Meat  (BYND) – Get Beyond Meat Inc. Report on Friday slashed its annual revenue forecast due to rising inflation and waning demand for its meat-alternative products, and said it was cutting about 200 jobs, or 19% of its total workforce.

The company said the weak forecast was due to increased competition and soaring inflation, which is pushing consumers to trade down into cheaper forms of protein, including animal meat.

“While we believe the current headwinds facing our business and category—including record inflation—are transient, our mission, brand, and long-term opportunity endure,” President and CEO Ethan Brown said in a statement, adding that the company is “…significantly reducing expenses and sharpening our focus on a set of key growth priorities.”

Part of reducing those expenses is slashing 200 jobs, or roughly 19% of the company’s workforce. Beyond Meat said it currently estimates that it will incur one-time cash charges of approximately $4 million in connection with the reduction in force, primarily consisting of notice period and severance payments, employee benefits, and related costs.

Waning Demand for Meat-Like Plant-Based Protein 

Once a darling of Wall Street with its meat-alternative products seen as a genuine replacement to real beef and chicken, Beyond Meat has seen its fortunes fade as consumers have leaned away from its products, particularly at chains like A&W, Denny’s and Carl’s Jr., which have seen demand for meat-alternative meals wane.

But it’s a general drop in demand at the grocery store that has Beyond Meat battening down the proverbial hatches.

“While the company continues to review the drivers behind recent performance, the company believes it has been negatively impacted by ongoing softness in the plant-based meat category overall, especially in the refrigerated subsegment,” Beyond Meat said.

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For the full year, Beyond Meat now expects revenue to be in the range of about $400 million to $425 million compared with previous expectations of between $470 million to $520 million.

While Beyond Meat has struggled to win broad acceptance, it did receive some good news this month as Panda Express announced plans to return Beyond Meat Original Orange Chicken to its menu.

Parking-Garage Dispute Augments String of Bad News

Offsetting that positive news, however, was the highly unusual and shocking story of Beyond Meat COO Doug Ramsey’s parking-garage spat, in which the executive was reportedly arrested for allegedly biting another man’s nose.

Ramsey was reportedly involved in a dispute in a parking garage after a football game in Fayetteville, Ark., on Sept. 17.

After another car made contact with Ramsey’s, he allegedly got out, punched a window in the offending car, then began attacking the driver. In the altercation that followed, Ramsey allegedly bit the nose of the other driver, KNWA reported. 

He was arrested on charges of third-degree battery and making terroristic threats, according to the report.

Ramsey was hired by Beyond Meat last November for $475,000 a year. He was also granted restricted stock units in the company potentially worth several million dollars, according to an SEC filing.

Beyond Meat went public in May 2019 at $25 a share in one of the hottest IPOs of that year. At last check the stock was down 6.77% at $13.78.

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