Beyond Meat launches new e-commerce platform27 Aug 2020
The next battleground for the plant-based protein movement is shaping up to be e-commerce. Today, Beyond Meat announced its very own online shop where consumers can order a variety of Beyond Meat products, including burgers, sausages, crumbles and breakfast patties to have them shipped directly to their door within two days.
This new, direct-to-consumer format sells these products in bulk packaging and combo packs as well as offers access to limited-time merchandise. Beyond Meat’s e-commerce platform is only available to residents in the lower 48 states of the U.S.
The two juggernauts of plant-based protein are once again going head-to-head following this announcement. In June, Impossible Foods launched its own direct-to-consumer site, but unlike Beyond Meat, the company only made four packaging sizes available. Beyond Meat is providing consumers with a much larger menu of choice as well as exclusivity incentives to persuade plant-based patrons to visit the site.
During the course of the pandemic, plant-based products have gone from in-demand to astronomically popular as consumers searched for alternatives during meat shortages and questions about hygiene in animal processing plants. In the four weeks ending April 19, sales of plant-based food grew 35% faster than the food category in general, according to SPINS statistics. Within this booming segment, refrigerated plant-based meat experienced a particularly large surge with sales jumping 219% as compared to 2019 during the same period.
While things have calmed down after the initial pantry stocking frenzy this spring, plant-based products are still in high demand. The Good Food Institute and the Plant Based Foods Association announced in July that plant-based food sales spiked 11% over the past year and now have a market value of $4.5 billion.
Beyond Meat remains one of the major players in the space, but to keep its dominance, the company needs to continue to expand. In the current climate where many people continue to limit their trips out of doors, e-commerce appears to be an appropriate step in this direction.
Overall, U.S. e-commerce sales jumped 30% between the first and second quarter of 2020, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. For the grocery category, this increase was represented by an increase from 13% of shoppers using online shopping in February to more than 30% by March, per data from Brick Meets Click. BCG predicts this growth to continue with e-commerce usage levels at two to three times higher than pre-Covid-19 levels by 2022.
Growth in this area has propelled many companies to deploy D2C strategies in hopes of grabbing the attention of consumers that are migrating toward a digital shopping environment. Beyond Meat is the latest to do so. However, it will not be surprising if more plant-based companies begin to take a similar approach.
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