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Published November 4th 2019

Where’s the Beef? An Analysis of the Incredible Rise of Beyond Meat

Beyond Meat is killing it, without killing anything. Here, we explore online conversations around the growing brand, finding that, while the stock price is climbing, there's still plenty to do to quell the concerns of would-be customers.

Can it get any better for Beyond Meat?

$BYND has been the IPO darling of 2019, with stock prices skyrocketing to over $230 (up 700%) a share. Investors have been bullish on the alternative protein market in 2019, and Beyond shares have been bolstered by partnerships with America’s largest fast food chains.

What does this mean for Beyond Meat in the future? Here’s we will dive in and examine the question: Is this trend a fleeting blip, or will Beyond Meat go “to infinity and beyond”?

Let’s break the meat down.

Big partnerships, and how they’re received

We broke down the “Beyond Meat” chatter to examine conversation related to their partnerships with top fast food chains, including: Dunkin’, Subway, Carl’s Jr., Del Taco, Tim Horton’s and A&W Canada.

Looking at the share of voice, Subway and Dunkin’ allot for 54% of the total conversation, with A&W Canada occupying the smallest volume of conversation at 7%.

Leveraging Brandwatch’ AI powered assistant Iris, we were able to detect significant spikes or compelling trends within that partner-related conversation.

Dunkin’ and Subway had the most noteworthy peaks in volume. When we explored further, these peaks represent the announcements of the new Dunkin’ Beyond Sausage Breakfast Sandwich and the new Beyond Meatball Marinara from Subway.

Clearly there’s a lot of hype around these big name announcements, but is everyone thrilled by these meatless partnerships?

Using AI-powered emotion analysis, Brandwatch can make more sense of how consumers feel about Beyond Meat being featured on big-name menus.

Despite all of the positive buzz and soaring stock prices, it is interesting to note that ‘Joy’ is not the prevailing emotion across the board. At Dunkin, Tim Horton’s, and A&W Canada, over 60% of mentions were categorized as featuring the emotion ‘Disgust.’

Clearly, not all consumers are a big fan of the meatless alternative. But what’s driving the ‘Disgust’ around Beyond Meat partnering with big brands?

What’s behind the negativity?

is Beyond Meat really disgusting? That of course depends on who you ask. When we broke down the conversations into word clouds, we picked up on consumers’ issues related to smell and taste, as well as people loudly challenging the claim that Beyond Meat’s products are healthier than a genuine beef patty.

Similar to previous controversies between dairy farmers and almond/soy farmers, the “pro cattle” and the “fake meat haters” have taken to the internet to express their distaste for the brand.  The most common talking point is that there are no real benefits to moving to alternative protein, and inferences have been made pointing to health risks associated with the products being so highly processed. This tweet below certainly sums up their sentiment.

Using a topic wheel, we were able to aggregate main themes in the conversation and get more granular sub-topics to explore.

We can see a lot of buzz around how over-processed the product is, and how it could be viewed as misleading to say it’s better for you compared to bovine flesh.

As Beyond Meat evolves to include more offerings to consumers and furthers their brand partnerships, it is vital to continually measure brand health by understanding the voice of the customer. This will directly impact Brand Managers, Digital Strategists and Product Developers, who can benefit from a real-time view of what people think of their brand and products.

Although the stock price of BYND continues to climb, it is clear that Beyond Meat has a number of issues to address related to perceptions around manufacturing, ingredients and partnerships.

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