Beyond Meat rose more than 14% in midday trading Thursday, after news that it’s teaming up with Taco Bell, as the latter looks to expand vegetarian offerings. Beyond Meat Takes a Tumble
Yum Brands’ [$YUM] Taco Bell announced that its “exploring a new plant-based protein” with Beyond Meat [$BYND] that will be tested “in the next year.” The move is part of its larger menu upgrade, highlighting fake meat options. Taco Bell said that two popular vegetarian items, the Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes and the Spicy Potato Soft Taco, which fell victim to streamlining in 2020, will once again be available in March.
The Taco Bell alliance is only the latest joint effort for Beyond Meat, which already works with other Yum banners, including Pizza Hut and Kentucky Fried Chicken in China, as well as other prominent restaurants, including McDonald’s [$MCD] via its McPlant initiative (although its likely not that company’s sole provider—and confusion on that point led to a Beyond Meat selloff).
Taco Bell’s timing is also an ode to consumers’ traditional resolutions to eat healthier in the new year, trends that companies like Chipotle Mexican Grill [$CMG] have hoped to capitalize on. The move further illustrates the momentus market for fake meat, which even some skeptics think could reach $8 billion by 2025. Mondelez is Going Keto
Plant-based eating—in “Veganuary” and beyond—has been increasing in popularity, but it got a spark from the pandy, which led many consumers to focus on their health, while restaurants and retailers rushed to meet rising demand. Taco Bell added that it was the first fast-food restaurant to partner with the American Vegetarian Association, in 2015, and currently has over 30 vegetarian ingredients on its U.S. menu.