Tyson Sells Beyond Meat Shares, Creates Own Product

By Kayla Sargent

Tyson Foods recently sold their shares in the alternative protein startup company, Beyond Meat, just before the company’s successful initial public offering.  In December 2016, Tyson Foods made an initial investment in the company as their plant-based protein substitutes began hitting the market.  Tyson increased their shareholding one year later to roughly 6.5 percent — a total investment of $34 million over the past two years, according to CNBC.

After Tyson Food CEO Noel White announced Tyson’s intention to develop its own plant-based protein alternative in February, tensions began to rise with Beyond Meat, according to multiple Axios sources.  According to reports, Beyond Meat no longer wanted a Tyson Foods representative in their board meetings after hearing the announcement, despite the contractual rights of the shareholder.

“Tyson Ventures is pleased with the investment in Beyond Meat and has decided the time is right to exit its investment,” a Tyson statement said.  “Beyond Meat provided an early opportunity for Tyson Ventures to invest in plant-based protein products that many consumers are seeking.”

Now, Tyson intends to enter the plant-based protein market with a product of their own, competition that sources say added to the tension with Beyond Meat.  Tyson’s statement said the company is “committed to providing alternative proteins as a choice for consumers.”

In order to provide for this commitment, Tyson Foods created a “new business focused on combining our creativity, scale, and resources to make great tasting protein alternatives more accessible for everyone.”

The statement said a market testing launch is anticipated sometime this summer.  White said, in a quarterly conference in early May, that a wider rollout should be expected in October or November.


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