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Beyond Meat craters after big Q1 earnings loss amid 'slow thaw' from COVID-19

Beyond Meat (BYND) reported first quarter financial results on Thursday that disappointed Wall Street, as the plant-based meat producer posted downbeat results amid a "slow thaw" rebound from the coronavirus pandemic.

The initial stock reaction saw Beyond Meat's shares tank 10% in after hours trading.

Here is how Beyond Meat performed this quarter, compared to Wall Street’s expectations, according to Bloomberg consensus estimates:

  • Revenue: $108.2 million versus $113.18 million expected

  • Adj. profit/loss per share: -$0.42 versus -$0.21 cents expected

The results indicate a sharp decline in quarterly earnings compared to one year ago, when the company reported adjusted earnings of 6 cents per share.

For most of last year, the pandemic wreaked havoc on the food and restaurant space as diners remained largely indoors. Analysts hoped rising consumer interest in alternative foods would offset a weak, pandemic-stricken foodservice channel; however, that segment continued to pressure first quarter profits.

Beyond's Q1 foodservice sales plunged 26% and 44% in the U.S. and abroad, respectively.

The company has been transparent about COVID-19 era challenges, noting in previous earnings that streamlined menus, declining foot traffic and operating capacity curbs all played a role in the declines.

Consequently, the company has shifted its focus to grocery, convenience stores and other forms of distribution with U.S. retail sales rising over 27% to $63.83 million this past quarter.

A Beyond Meat Burger is seen on display at a store in Port Washington, New York, U.S., June 3, 2019. Picture taken June 3, 2019. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
A Beyond Meat Burger is seen on display at a store in Port Washington, New York, U.S., June 3, 2019. Picture taken June 3, 2019. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton (Shannon Stapleton / Reuters)

Beyond Meat added that it cannot provide full year guidance for 2021 with reasonable certainty.

"More near-term, we are cautiously returning to the practice of issuing guidance, starting with net revenues, as we have recently begun to see a slow thaw occurring within foodservice both domestically and in certain international markets," CEO Ethan Brown said in the company's earnings release.

Innovation drives growth

Beyond Meat has battled coronavirus headwinds by routinely adding innovative and premium product offerings — from Beyond Meatballs to Beyond Breakfast Sausage Links — in addition to striking partnerships with big-name chains and retailers including Costco (COST), Taco Bell (YUM), Subway, TGI Friday’s, Dunkin’ and Pizza Hut.

This week, the company launched a new version of its plant-based Beyond Burger at grocery stores nationwide. Dubbed the brand's juiciest plant-based patty yet, a four-pack will set one back $9.99.

Beyond Burger 3.0 (Courtesy: Beyond Meat)
Beyond Burger 3.0 (Courtesy: Beyond Meat)

The new recipe, which more resembles the flavor and texture of ground beef, is set to be introduced to restaurant partners beginning in June.

"As we get closer to that beef experience that we all love, or most of us, we bring consumers into the brand and then we obviously are able to accomplish more of our broader objectives," Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown previously told Yahoo Finance.

And competition in the space continues to heat up.

In recent months, plant-based competitor Impossible Foods has slashed prices in a bid to capture market share from Beyond Meat ahead of a potential IPO.

Additionally, Tyson Foods (TSN) is set to launch plant-based hamburgers and sausages ahead of the summer grilling season. Beyond's stock initially dipped on that news.

Shares of Beyond Meat have risen 21% over the last 12 months, giving the company a market value of just over $7.5 billion.

Alexandra is a Producer & Entertainment Correspondent at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alliecanal8193

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