I was skeptical when I heard about the innovation of fake meat— Beyond Meat, to be exact— years ago. I have never been a vegetarian, nor do I ever plan to become one, but I am always on the lookout for something healthy. Healthy for the body and healthy for the investment portfolio. Since Beyond Meat went public, under the ticker symbol BYND, it has done very well. If the stock price was reflected the taste, this should be the best thing I have ever tasted!
In addition to taste, there are other reasons for consumers to pay a premium for food. Having two sisters and a mom with Celiac disease, I am well aware that consumers will pay a premium to eat “normal”, even though choosing a vegetarian diet is different from those that become very ill from the mere smell of gluten. But the same premium that my family will pay for gluten-free food is the same premium that someone will pay for a healthier or socially responsible lifestyle.
So, with that, I waited for the opportunity to taste this new pseudo-meat. The opportunity came this past Father’s Day.
I was excited. The night before, I went to our local Byerly’s, a high-end grocery store, and picked up my four patties. I was surprised at the cost: $10 for the four. I also grabbed 4 small fillets, since I did not want an angry family if the fake meat did not go over well. And after all, it was Father’s Day— I deserved a little something extra!
Cooking them was remarkably easy; 3 mins on each side. It felt like I was warming them up more than cooking them. I cooked the real meat first, and then the fake stuff. My youngest had his steak, medium rare; my oldest, medium+; my wife, well done; and for me, medium.
I did not see any way to cook the Beyond Meat, at different levels.
While they cooked, I played a little whiffle ball with my sons and ate spicy pumpkin seeds with a Troll Way (my gifts). It was a perfect day for family, food, and fun!
When done, I liked what I saw. The fake meat had an odd smell, but the texture seemed nice. I was eager to know what my wife thought. While not a vegetarian, she has always eaten in a healthy way: organic, low fat, high protein, high fiber, etc….
To my surprise, the feedback was not good, from anyone. Some of the comments:
- “Smells like cat food”
- “Not much taste”
- “Texture is odd”
- “Tastes like chemicals”
- “Smells like plastic burning”
You get the idea.
Needless to say, I was the only one that ate very much. I even ate the leftovers.
My conclusion was that I did not understand what all the fuss was about. If based on taste only, the stock is way overvalued; it could taste much better if a lot of sauces were used. However, I did like the texture much better than other vege-burgers. But given the cost and lack of health benefits in the fake meat, I’d prefer eating a real hamburger.
I will continue to look at the product more from an investment standpoint, rather than judging it based on whether I would want to eat it regularly. The main investment theme I see is sustainability or morality. If the consumer wants to use fewer resources to produce their food or they think it is immoral to kill an animal, they will most likely pay a premium for that.
It is also possible that the cow lobby is more powerful than most people realize, and we are all marionettes for the bovine puppet masters.
The most disappointing thing for me was the lack of affordability for the poor across the world. Creating cheap, easy to cook protein for the starving would a great and noble act.
But overall it was a great day and I enjoyed trying something new while being surrounded by family. I hope you and your family had an equally fantastic day!
Happy Father’s Day!
(A reminder that any commentary here is not meant as investment advice, either for or against any company or product. Please consult your financial advisor.)