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Beyond Meat profit falls short on higher costs, depressed restaurant sales

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By Nivedita Balu and Hilary Russ

(Reuters) - Beyond Meat Inc on Thursday reported a wider quarterly loss than expected, as the plant-based meat maker incurred higher freight costs and spent heavily on testing new product launches.

Shares of the California-based company fell about 6% in extended trading, after it also saw current-quarter revenue largely below estimates.

The company last year benefited from consumers stockpiling their freezers with bulk packages of its burgers during stay-at-home orders across the United States. As restrictions eased, consumers eager to dine out and socialize have cut back on home cooking.

Sales from restaurants also took a hit, but Chief Executive Officer Ethan Brown said that downward trend is seeing a "slow thaw" in the U.S. and abroad as dining rooms reopen.

Beyond Meat, which now sells its faux-meat burgers and sausages in over 100,000 outlets worldwide, is among many other packaged food companies paying higher costs for everything from raw materials to packaging, forcing many to hike prices.

Net revenue rose about 11% to $108.2 million in the first quarter ended April 3, missing estimates of $113.7 million.

Excluding one-time items, it lost 42 cents per share - much more than analysts' expectations of 19 cents.

Its bottom line swung to a net loss of $26.84 million from a profit of $1.8 million a year ago.

It expects second-quarter revenue in the range of $135 million to $150 million, a rise of 19% to 32%.

Analysts had forecast revenue of $142.8 million, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

(Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and David Gregorio)