What have you always wondered about the economy? Tell us
COVID-19

How are plant-based meat companies faring during the pandemic?

Kristin Schwab Jul 27, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace Morning Report
HTML EMBED:
COPY
Packages of meat alternatives for sale in a New York market. Most customers are not vegetarians but people who eat less meat for health or environmental reasons. Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images
COVID-19

How are plant-based meat companies faring during the pandemic?

Kristin Schwab Jul 27, 2020
Packages of meat alternatives for sale in a New York market. Most customers are not vegetarians but people who eat less meat for health or environmental reasons. Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Beyond Meat will report earnings Monday after the bell, and it’s unclear how things will shake out for the meat-substitute company amid the ups and downs grocery stores and restaurants are dealing with because of COVID-19.

At the beginning of the pandemic, the biggest competition facing meatless meat was, well, meat.

“When consumers started to stock up, they actually gravitated towards more familiar items,” said Dasha Shor, a global food analyst at Mintel.

That’s because the biggest market for companies like Beyond Meat isn’t vegetarians, but meat eaters who Shor calls “flexitarians” — people who eat less meat for health or environmental reasons.

But home cooks got tired of eating the same thing. Then, in April, there was the meat shortage, when some grocers limited purchases and prices went up.

“This was really an opportunity for plant-based meat companies like Beyond Meat to really go out and grab some new customers,” said Arun Sundaram, an analyst at CFRA Research.

Still, things aren’t rosy at restaurants, which make up half of Beyond Meat’s sales. And Sundaram isn’t sure grocery sales will keep growing if the recession continues.

“Obviously, because people are going to be trying out less things if their wallets are pinched,” he said.

Beyond Meat’s Beyond Beef product, for instance, can run around $9 a pound.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What are the details of President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief plan?

The $1.9 trillion plan would aim to speed up the vaccine rollout and provide financial help to individuals, states and local governments and businesses. Called the “American Rescue Plan,” the legislative proposal would meet Biden’s goal of administering 100 million vaccines by the 100th day of his administration, while advancing his objective of reopening most schools by the spring. It would also include $1,400 checks for most Americans. Get the rest of the specifics here.

What kind of help can small businesses get right now?

A new round of Paycheck Protection Program loans recently became available for pandemic-ravaged businesses. These loans don’t have to be paid back if rules are met. Right now, loans are open for first-time applicants. And the application has to go through community banking organizations — no big banks, for now, at least. This rollout is designed to help business owners who couldn’t get a PPP loan before.

What does the hiring situation in the U.S. look like as we enter the new year?

New data on job openings and postings provide a glimpse of what to expect in the job market in the coming weeks and months. This time of year typically sees a spike in hiring and job-search activity, says Jill Chapman with Insperity, a recruiting services firm. But that kind of optimistic planning for the future isn’t really the vibe these days. Job postings have been lagging on the job search site Indeed. Listings were down about 11% in December compared to a year earlier.

Read More

Collapse

As a nonprofit news organization, our future depends on listeners like you who believe in the power of public service journalism.

Your investment in Marketplace helps us remain paywall-free and ensures everyone has access to trustworthy, unbiased news and information, regardless of their ability to pay.

Donate today — in any amount — to become a Marketplace Investor. Now more than ever, your commitment makes a difference.