Plant-Based: Beyond Meat Struggles, Wholly Veggie Launches National Campaign


Image above from Wholly Veggie ad.

“Healthy competition” in plant-based meats is good—but not in the current inflationary environment.

That’s part of Beyond Meat Inc. founder, president and CEO Ethan Brown’s explanation for the company’s continued losses amid cost-cutting that includes two recent rounds of employee layoffs.

Brown’s comments came last week as Beyond Meat reported a 22.5% decrease in third quarter net revenue and a net loss of $101.7 million—nearly double the deficit from the year-ago period.

Last month, Beyond Meat said it was reducing its workforce by approximately 200 employees—representing about 19% of the company's total global workforce.

In response, analysts at Cowen & Company said it anticipates "more pain before the business can stabilize, if ever.”



October’s layoffs followed a reduction of about 4% of Beyond Meat’s workforce in August.

Following the Q3 earnings release, the company’s cost issues were summarized by Seeking Alpha contributor Bill Maurer, who noted that “the company’s products cost $1.18 for every dollar of revenue generated.”

On an earnings call with analysts, Brown tried to balance positives and negatives.

“As we have maintained, we believe that healthy competition within plant-based meat is a good thing as it brings investment in marketing to the category,” said Brown. “However, in the current environment, we are not seeing this benefit of competition. Instead more companies are pursuing the same or fewer consumers.”

But the category isn’t getting less noisy marketing-wise.

Launched in 2017, Toronto-based Wholly Veggie has just launched its first national campaign in Canada and the United States.

It’s titled “Haha You Just Ate Vegetables” and is accompanied by heavy metal music written, composed and sung by Party Land agency creatives Matt Heath and Matt Rogers.

In this spot dubbed “Mom & Dad,” two young kids declare “We want wings!”

As the lyrics explain that “Your kids hate veggies, they’d rather starve than eat ‘em,” the parents conspire to serve up Wholly Veggie buffalo cauliflower wings.

Once the kids discover they’ve been tricked, they proceed to trash the kitchen.

"We loved the opportunity that a stale plant-based marketing environment offered the Wholly Veggie brand, [which] very much has fun in its soul," Party Land co-founder and chief creative officer Matt Heath tells Marketing Daily.

According to Wholly Veggie co-founder John Bonnell, the brand has distribution in more than 5,000 U.S. retailers and expects to add 2,000 more by the end of next year.

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