Beyond Meat has received a non-GMO verification. Even though the plant-based meat brand already has a place in 10,000 grocery stores, this could help them achieve more business. According to Food Navigator, this status was given to the company after a one-year review.
The mission of this company is to recreate the taste and texture of meat with plant-based ingredients. This is what they advertised with their ‘beyond burger’ which was debuted in 2016. The company sold the burger on the promise that it would taste and ‘bleed’ like meat. Since then, they have sold more than 25 million burgers. Vegetarian burgers are not new to the market, so Beyond Meat’s selling point was that its products have the same taste and texture of meat.
Modern science was the company’s aid in understanding animal proteins at a molecular level, allowing them to produce a vegetarian substitute. The burger they’ve developed has proven to be attractive to even non-vegetarians since 70 percent of the consumers that buy the plant-based Beyond Burger are meat eaters.
This follows the trend illustrated by a 2015 report by NPD Group which found that 70 percent of meat eating consumers substitute a non-meat protein in their meals weekly. In addition, 22 percent of those people said they were using non-meat proteins more frequently than the previous year.
Though the vegetarian burger has been a great hit, consumers are also concerned with other aspects of the food industry, namely products that contain GMOs. However for Beyond Meat, the non-GMO status was able to happen after the company opened a new research and innovation center in Los Angeles. The center called “The Manhattan Beach Project” involved more than 50 engineers and scientists. The project allowed the team to recreate a meat-eating experience with plant-based ingredients.
Though the use of GMOs is an issue for some, other consumers don’t mind. A survey by the International Food Information Council found that 47 percent of consumers don’t worry about whether their food contains GMOs, however 41 percent do consider this a factor when buying food.
“We believe the best way to serve the family is through a commitment to all-natural, non-GMO ingredients when building meat directly from plants Though these tough guardrails make it harder for our scientists, we feel it is the right long run decision for Beyond Meat and our consumers,” founder and CEO of Beyond Meat, Ethan Brown said.
By achieving the label ‘non-GMO,’ the company is standing out against its competitor the ‘Impossible Burger.’ This vegan ‘bleeding’ burger, which was also debuted in 2016, is very similar to Beyond Meat’s product. The Impossible Burger uses a molecule called heme to achieve the bleeding. This molecule is found in animals but the company sources their heme molecules from leghemoglobin which is found in soy plants.
“We discovered that heme is the magic ingredient, responsible not just for the bloody taste of meat in its raw form but for the explosion of flavors and aromas when meat is cooked,” founder of Impossible Foods, Pat Brown said in a TED talk.
However, this might turn consumers away because extracting leghemoglobin isn’t enough for the company to recreate the meat experience. So Impossible Foods is also producing a large portion of this molecule through yeast. The yeast they use to source this molecule is genetically modified. This is where the Beyond Burger wins, using beat juice for their bleeding factor completely avoids this problem. Earning this label sets the company apart from the competition in the eyes of consumers.