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Beyond Meat announces layoffs after lower Q2 sales

Plant-based meat maker Beyond Meat said Thursday it’s laying off 4% of its workforce after a difficult second quarter that saw cost-conscious customers bypass its higher-priced products.

El Segundo, California-based Beyond Meat said its revenue fell 1.6% to $147 million. That was short of Wall Street’s forecast of $149 million, according to analysts polled by FactSet. The company reported a net loss of $97 million, or $1.53 per share, which was also larger than analysts expected.

Beyond Meat President and CEO Ethan Brown said customers dealing with food price inflation traded down to cheaper store brands of plant-based meat or bought animal meat. Brown said the results magnified the importance of the company’s longtime goal of achieving price parity with animal-based meat.

Brown said Beyond Meat’s ground beef currently costs $8.35 per pound. That compares to an average of $4.90 per pound for animal-based ground beef, he said.

“In a kind of unfortunate way, it’s reinforcing our strategy and it’s propelling us and challenging us to try to wring cost out of our system as quickly as we can,” Brown said Thursday in a conference call with investors.

U.S. retail sales rose 2.2% thanks to sales of Beyond Meat Jerky, a new product introduced as part of a partnership with PepsiCo. But other products, including plant-based burgers and chicken, saw lower sales.

Beyond Meat gave no update on its partnership with McDonald’s, which recently ended a U.S. trial of the McPlant, a burger it developed in partnership with Beyond Meat. McDonald’s also hasn’t confirmed its future plans for the burger in the U.S.

Beyond Meat didn’t immediately say how many employees would be leaving the company. It employed 1,419 people __ including 311 full-time contract workers __ at the end of 2021, according to its annual report.

The company’s shares were flat in after-market trading Thursday.

By DEE-ANN DURBIN
AP Business Writer

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