With Sickly Sales, Beyond Meat Rolls Out a Healthier Burger

New burger will cut saturated fat by 60%, kick the protein up a bit
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 21, 2024 11:05 AM CST
With Sickly Sales, Beyond Meat Rolls Out a Healthier Burger
Packaging for the latest iteration of the plant-based Beyond Burger. Beyond Meat, which has been struggling with falling US demand, reformulated its burger to contain less fat and more protein.   (Beyond Meat, via AP)

Beyond Meat is revamping its signature plant-based burger, hoping that healthier ingredients will help it boost flagging US sales. The company based in El Segundo, California, said Wednesday that its new Beyond Burger patties and Beyond Beef ground product cut saturated fat by 60% by switching from canola and coconut oils to avocado oil. The new products, which also have less sodium and more protein, go on sale in the US this spring. This is the fourth generation of the Beyond Burger, but Beyond founder and CEO Ethan Brown says this is the biggest leap the brand has made since it went on sale in 2016.

Brown says the company spent years developing the new recipe with input from nutritionists and doctors, trying to provide the benefits of plant-based eating in a burger that mimics the taste and texture of animal meat. "Health is one of the top drivers to the plant-based meat category, and we feel a deep responsibility to deliver on that expectation for the consumer," Brown tells the AP. Beyond Meat is also under pressure to reverse declining US sales. In the first nine months of 2023, the company's US revenue dropped 34% on weak demand. The company said in November it was cutting 19% of its workforce and considering cutting some products, like jerky, and reducing operations in China.

US consumers' doubts about the health of plant-based meat—fed partly by the meat industry—has been a consistent problem. The outgoing Beyond Burger contains 25% of the recommended daily intake of saturated fat, for example, and 17% of the sodium. The new Beyond Burger significantly improves that health profile, with 10% of the recommended intake of saturated fat and 14% of sodium. A single patty has 230 calories, the same as the outgoing burger. For comparison, a Kroger-brand 80/20 beef patty has 290 calories. Beyond Meat—which has always used pea protein in its burgers—also added protein from lentils, rice, and fava beans to the new burger to improve chewiness and boost the protein. The burgers now have 21 grams of protein, compared to 19 grams in 80/20 beef patties.

(More Beyond Meat stories.)

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