Beyond Meat Case Analysis
BEYOND MEAT: CHANGING CONSUMERS’ MEAT PREFERENCE
Beyond Meat, a producer of plant-based meat substitutes, was founded by Ethan Brown and Brent Taylor in 2009 in Los Angeles, California. The company’s aim was to change the world and try to slow down average meat consumption for the well-being of humans and animals. Beyond Meat had many high profile investors, including Bill Gates and Twitter co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams.2 Beyond Meat’s vision was for consumers to enjoy a meat-like taste and texture in their favourite dishes while avoiding many chemicals that were used in processed meat and reducing the number of animals killed every year for their meat. The company wanted to reduce global meat consumption by 25 per cent by 2020. While this seemed to be a huge goal, Beyond Meat was striving to educate consumers about the superior benefits that eating vegan meat alternatives would provide to not only the consumers, but also to the environment they live in and the animals they live around.3 The big questions for Beyond Meat were: How could the company market a product that was still in development? How could consumer behaviour and tastes regarding eating meat be changed? COMPETITION
A key strength of Beyond Meat was that it offered by far one of the more appealing innovations to the meat alternative, the vegan industry. There had been many vegan meat alternatives for quite some time now, but based on consumer reviews,4 the taste and texture of Beyond Meat’s products were almost like the real thing. Other products, such as Quorn and Gardein, could not meet the standards of Beyond Meat, whose chicken strips, for example, looked, felt and tasted closer to real meat, especially since they contained reduced sodium, an important feature for the company’s target market of health-conscious people. The organization’s strategy was also interesting: it pushed stores to stock its meat along the real meat counter instead of with vegetarian options such as tofu. In an interview in Slate, Brown stated that he wanted consumers to think of the product as protein, regardless of whether or not it came from an animal or a plant. Future goals for management included reducing prices once production ramped up to prices lower than actual meat and to expand into India and China so that much more of the world’s market share would satisfy their meat cravings with this vegan alternative. Brown was confident that, someday, modern society would accept his innovations as it had accepted so many other technological changes.5
The main benefits of vegan products were the absence of the antibiotics, hormones, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), trans fats and cholesterol, among many other additives, that were normally found in the real meat products that so many people consume everyday.6 These chemicals played a huge part in developing illnesses such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and obesity. In addition, Beyond Meat suggested many other interesting benefits of cutting meat out of consumers’ diets. For instance, studies concluded that people on vegetarian diets had much better moods than people whose diets included meat and fish since they contained many fatty acids, particularly omega 6, that when consumed in large amounts could cause depression or bipolar disorder.7 Eating more vegetarian meals also improved hormonal health as a result of cutting out animal proteins, which contained many unsafe hormones. Additionally, the same studies concluded that reducing animal meat consumption could improve body odours and sexual performance. The main benefit for most consumers was that eating healthy foods and less meat could prolong one’s life: vegetarians had much lower incidences of heart diseases, cancers and other life-threatening illnesses.8 The
company claimed to save more than 1.5 million chickens per year, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals gave Beyond Meat its company of the year award in 2013.9Assignment requirements:
Read the case and write an essay about 750 to 1,000 words using the MLA format, double spaced. Please see the rubric for how the paper will be graded. Also, see the ‘Good Paragraph Structure’ document provided to make sure your paper is well-written.
In your paper, you should answer these questions:
- What segmentation trends should Beyond Meat be aware of?
- What demographic (age, gender, ethnicity, and income) and psychographic (values, beliefs, behaviors, and lifestyles) should they focus on?
- What segment audience do you recommend Beyond Meat target?
- What can Beyond Meat do to shape consumer behavior and preferences regarding eating a plant-based meat substitute?
- What recommendations would you make for the launch of the Beyond Burger?
- What is your plan of action for a digital campaign?