FAST FIVE: Plant-Based Meat Industry On Edge As Beyond Meat Loses Sizzle

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Sales of its plant-based hamburger patties and sausages soared as vegetarians and the simply curious gave them a try.

Restaurants dove in on the trend, with Carl's Jr., Subway and other chains incorporating the company's plant-based alternative (PBA) meats into their offerings.  Today, it's a company without much momentum.

As if that all weren't enough to cope with, Beyond Meat's chief operating officer left the company in Octobrer after being arrested for allegedly biting a man's nose — an act that's decidedly off-brand for a business that eschews meat-eating.   Now, via internal documents obtained by Bloomberg, come revelations — with gut-churning photos — that a Beyond Meat plant in Pennsylvania was plagued earlier this year by mold and Listeria bacteria:  Beyond Meat logged 11 incidents of listeria out of 56 weekly tests at its Pennsylvania plant, with the most recent positive test in May 2022.

“The portion of the US population open to trying (and repeat-buying) it may already have reached a saturation point,” said Deloitte Insights in a recent analysis of the industry based on its consumer surveys.

In a time of surging grocery and restaurant bills, it's no surprise that Deloitte found willingness to pay more for fake meat dropped by 9 percentage points from 2021.  That makes it harder to attract new customers or retain existing ones.

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