Beyond Meat Aims To Make It Across The Pond

Pizza Hut and Beyond Meat are moving their relationship overseas.

Plant-based meat has seen its ups and downs in recent years, but one brand in particular has been riding out the storm for a long time and, apparently, just barely staying above water. After facing a stagnant market in the United States, Beyond Meat appears to be seeking fresh opportunity in the UK alongside its ongoing partner Pizza Hut.

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Beyond Meat and Pizza Hut are bringing their collaboration, the Plant-Based Beyond Pepperoni Pizza, to Pizza Hut locations nationwide in the UK for a limited time, per an announcement from the two brands. The plant-based pepperoni will be available on Pizza Hut's Big New Yorker Pizza, Beyond Pepperoni Feast Pizza, and in a Beyond Pepperoni Melt. Customers in the UK can try the new items now via Pizza Hut Delivery locations nationwide, but pepperoni won't be available at any dine-in restaurant locations until January 2024.

Based on a survey of 48 Gen Z consumers in the UK conducted in July 2023 by Beyond Meat, the brand found that 80% said they'd love to try a plant-based pepperoni pizza. (That's a small sample size, but reflective of the public's widespread willingness to try this stuff at least once.)

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Why Beyond Meat is aiming for UK consumers

Here in the United States, Beyond Meat has had its share of struggles, ranging from layoffs to a lawsuit filed by investors to partnerships with fast food chains that never seem to scale up. In fact, the only somewhat lasting partnership the brand appears to have in North America is with Pizza Hut.

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Beyond Meat and Pizza Hut kicked off their relationship in November 2020 with the launch of a Beyond Italian Sausage pizza. In 2021, the two brands took the collaboration to the next level by debuting Beyond Pepperoni domestically, also a limited-time offering.

Beyond Meat has also collaborated with McDonald's, Starbucks, KFC, Taco Bell, and Panda Express in the past to create limited-time menu offerings in the U.S. None of these partnerships have led to permanent menu items, though Beyond Meat confirmed to The Takeout that it continues to partner with McDonald's. (The McPlant Burger, which features a Beyond patty, has previously seen only a limited release in the U.S. but is currently available in the UK, Austria, Germany, and Ireland.)

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The plant-based company has been in something of a financial tailspin for some time. For the first quarter of 2023 Beyond Meat's revenue was $92.2 million, 15.7% less than the previous year. And although 19.8 million pounds of product were sold during that period, this was a decrease of 7.3% from the previous year as well. Now in the third quarter of 2023, the company has reported net revenues of $75.3 million, a year-over-year decrease of 8.7%.

Beyond Meat has tried to find success in other foreign markets such as China, but once again saw enthusiasm for its products burn out, as reported by Bloomberg. However, in this most recent quarterly report, Beyond CEO Ethan Brown said international retail sales increased 39% and international food service sales were up almost 80% due to high demand for the brand's plant-based burgers in Europe. Even if Beyond Meat's American Dream appears to be dying, its European ventures could secure the company's future.

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