Once hailed as the future of food, Beyond Meat – which supplies McDonald’s and KFC’s vegan menu options – reported that sales are down by a third this year.
Kim Kardashian appears in their ads as “Chief Taste Consultant,” but even she hasn’t had an impact on sales. It probably doesn’t help that she was accused of only pretending to eat the product during filming. Or that Beyond Meat’s COO was fired in October for biting off another man’s nose.
But Ethan Brown, CEO of the LA-based company, said (according to The Times) that a new advertising campaign is in the pipeline aimed at convincing doubters that its ingredients are not over processed and unhealthy as some people claim.
The decline in Beyond Meat’s fortunes looks like it’s the result of a number of factors. It’s expensive; there’s a new-found alarm over processed foods; vegetarian cooking has improved so much that meat-substitutes are unnecessary; plus vegan and vegetarian eating is now absorbed into the mainstream.
Pret A Manger has closed half its Veggie Pret outlets in the last year, and The Grocer reports that the number of meat alternatives on sale at Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Waitrose has shrunk by 10 per cent.
No word on whether Beyond Meat’s new ad campaign will feature another celeb. Kardashian joined a long list of ambassadors for the brand, which includes Kevin Hart and Snoop Dogg, while Leonardo DiCaprio and Bill Gates were among the high profile investors for the 2012 launch.