Beyond Meat recruits Kim Kardashian for key role as shares sink 80% year-over-year

Beyond Meat (BYND) is looking to “keep up.”

On Tuesday, the plant-based meat maker — desperate for a Wall Street rebrand — revealed that reality TV icon and billionaire entrepreneur Kim Kardashian will serve as the its “chief taste consultant,” in addition to starring in a new campaign focused on the brand’s mission of health and sustainability.

The company, which saw shares pop on the news before sinking as much as 9% in early trading, has struggled to maintain its initial pace of growth with shares plummeting more than 80% over the past 12 months.

The stock is currently trading at around $23 a share — below its 2019 IPO price of $25 as share.

“As an icon synonymous with impeccable taste in food, fashion, beauty and more, Kim will highlight the brand’s delicious, nutritious and sustainable product portfolio with her signature recipes and engaging creative content,” Beyond Meat wrote in a press release.

Kardashian, who joined Forbes’ coveted billionaire list last year, could help elevate Beyond’s product profile given her presence both online and in retail.

The A-lister currently serves at the helm of several successful businesses from beauty brand KKW to loungewear company Skims. She boasts more than 313 million followers on Instagram (FB) alone.

Kardashian, who commented that Beyond Meat is her “absolute favorite” plant-based brand, joins a slew of other celebrity ambassadors that also includes Kevin Hart, Shay Mitchell, Snoop Dogg and Liza Koshy.

Competition in the plant-based sector has exploded over the past several years — from lab-grown meat to fungi-based products. The increased competition has played a significant role in some of Beyond Meat’s recent struggles.

In fact, U.S. plant-based food sales grew two times as fast as animal-based food sales in 2020, totaling $7 billion, according to the latest Good Food Institute industry report. Within that category, plant-based meat crossed the billion-dollar mark, expanding by 45% in dollar sales from 2019.

Today, the traditional U.S. meat market sits at $170-plus billion with alternative protein sales coming in at roughly $1.6 billion. Experts note significant upside potential ahead.

 

Other big-name celebrities have attached their names to meatless brands.

Actress and talk show host Drew Barrymore, who identifies as a flexitarian, recently joined meat-free food company Quorn as its “chief mom officer.”

She explained to Yahoo Finance that “accessibility and affordability” piqued her interest in the brand.

“I just want it to be easy and findable and affordable. Families cannot be expected to go to a farm stand and cook a full meal all of the time. These aspirations are not true to life. You have to find people where they are and find out what they need — and be gracious and thoughtful about it,” she said.

Other key drivers for plant-based supporters include its impact on the environment.

According to a recent study by the international journal Nature, eliminating animal meat consumption and embracing more plant-based alternatives can help prevent deforestation, in addition to curbing greenhouse gas emissions and alleviating excessive water use.

The study projected that substituting just 20% of traditional meat consumption with alternative options will cut “annual deforestation and related CO2 emissions roughly in half, while also lowering methane emissions.”

Alexandra is a Senior Entertainment and Food Reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alliecanal8193 or email her at [email protected]

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