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Edited Transcript of BYND.OQ earnings conference call or presentation 27-Feb-20 9:30pm GMT

Q4 2019 Beyond Meat Inc Earnings Call

Mar 26, 2020 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of Beyond Meat Inc earnings conference call or presentation Thursday, February 27, 2020 at 9:30:00pm GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

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Corporate Participants

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* Ethan Brown

Beyond Meat, Inc. - Founder, President, CEO & Director

* Lubi Kutua

Beyond Meat, Inc. - VP of FP&A & IR

* Mark J. Nelson

Beyond Meat, Inc. - CFO & Treasurer

* Seth Goldman

Beyond Meat, Inc. - Executive Chairman

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Conference Call Participants

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* Adam L. Samuelson

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division - Equity Analyst

* Alexia Jane Burland Howard

Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC., Research Division - Senior Analyst

* Benjamin M. Theurer

Barclays Bank PLC, Research Division - Head of the Mexico Equity Research & Director

* Bryan Douglass Spillane

BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - MD of Equity Research

* Jon Robert Andersen

William Blair & Company L.L.C., Research Division - Partner

* Kenneth B. Goldman

JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Senior Analyst

* Michael Scott Lavery

Piper Sandler & Co., Research Division - Director & Senior Research Analyst

* Robert Bain Moskow

Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division - Research Analyst

* Robert Frederick Dickerson

Jefferies LLC, Research Division - MD & Senior Research Analyst

* Rupesh Dhinoj Parikh

Oppenheimer & Co. Inc., Research Division - MD & Senior Analyst

* Steven A. Strycula

UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - Director and Equity Research Analyst

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Presentation

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Operator [1]

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Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by, and welcome to the Beyond Meat Fourth Quarter 2019 Earnings Conference Call. (Operator Instructions) Please be advised that today's conference is being recorded. (Operator Instructions)

I would now like to hand the conference over to your speaker today, Mr. Lubi Kutua, VP of FP&A and Investor Relations at Beyond Meat. Thank you. Please go ahead, sir.

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Lubi Kutua, Beyond Meat, Inc. - VP of FP&A & IR [2]

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Thank you. Good afternoon, and welcome to Beyond Meat's Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2019 Earnings Conference Call and Webcast. On today's call are Seth Goldman, Chairman of the Board; Ethan Brown, Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer; and Mark Nelson, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer.

By now, everyone should have access to the company's fourth quarter and full year 2019 earnings press release and investor presentation filed today after market close. These documents are available on the Investor Relations section of Beyond Meat's website at www.beyond meat.com.

Before we begin, please note that all the information presented on today's call is unaudited. And during the course of this call, management may make forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. These statements are based on management's current expectations and beliefs and involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in these forward-looking statements. Please refer to today's press release, the company's quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 28, 2019, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on November 12, 2019, the company's annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019, to be filed with the SEC and other filings with the SEC for a detailed discussion of the risks that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in any forward-looking statements made today.

Please note that on today's call, management will refer to adjusted EBITDA, which is a non-GAAP financial measure. While the company believes this non-GAAP financial measure provides useful information for investors, the presentation of this information is not intended to be considered in isolation or as a substitute for the financial information presented in accordance with GAAP. Please refer to today's press release for a reconciliation of adjusted EBITDA to its most comparable measure prepared in accordance with GAAP.

Now I'd like to turn the call over to Seth Goldman, our Chairman of the Board.

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Seth Goldman, Beyond Meat, Inc. - Executive Chairman [3]

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Thank you, Lubi. 2019 was a remarkable year. It's amazing to think that a little more than 2 years ago, the Beyond Burger was in just 5,000 grocery stores but today is carried in almost all of the major U.S. chains. Similarly, 2 years ago, the Beyond Burger was in a few hundred restaurant and foodservice locations. And today, you can find our products in thousands of foodservice outlets around the world, including some of the largest and most recognizable QSR chains in North America. At this time last year, we were excited to have Beyond Meat achieve 2018 annual net revenues of $88 million, which is less than our net revenue for Q4 of 2019 alone. I've certainly never seen anything like this in my 20-plus years in the food business.

Now that we have completed our first calendar year of financial results as a public company, I am stepping down as Executive Chair effective today and will continue to serve as Chair of the Board. I intend to continue to support the growth of Beyond Meat as Nonexecutive Chair and look forward to working with our Board of Directors and leadership team in pursuit of Beyond Meat's mission of building great-tasting meat from plants. We are focused on empowering consumers globally to make better choices on nutrition and sustainably producing food in a way that is good for our planet and animal populations alike. I am proud to say that Beyond Meat has a strong and experienced team in place, and I'm extremely confident in this team's ability to lead the company in aggressively pursuing the significant growth opportunities ahead.

In short, Ethan and team are building a powerful and impactful business for the long term. As a distance runner, I would say we are off to a strong start. But this is a marathon, and we are still in the early miles. We've got the right talent, the right mindset, and I believe we are better prepared to navigate the terrain than any other team.

And with that, I'll turn it over to our lead runner and CEO, Ethan Brown.

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Ethan Brown, Beyond Meat, Inc. - Founder, President, CEO & Director [4]

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Thanks, Seth. Good afternoon, everyone. We entered 2019 with record fourth quarter and annual financial results. Looking back at 2019, we exceeded the sales, financial and operational expectations we set for the year. Performance reflects rapidly increasing awareness among consumers around the benefits of plant-based meats. Our continued investment in closing the gaps between our products and their animal protein equivalents (technical difficulty) our organization as we scale to new levels of growth and expansion.

We achieved net revenues of $298 million in 2019, an increase of 239% compared to 2018. Our products are now available in over 77,000 retail restaurant and foodservice outlets and in over 65 countries worldwide, though we're only scratching the surface in the vast majority of these geographies.

In U.S. retail, we generated strong velocity growth of 106%, contributing to an 830 basis point increase in market share, according to SPINS data for total U.S. multi-outlet, natural and specialty channels for the 52-week period ended December 29, 2019, while growing 26x faster than the largest competitive brand in the category during the same period.

More recently, with our brand velocity growth of 127% in the 12-week period ended December 29, 2019, Beyond Meat owned the 4 best-selling SKUs in all of plant-based meat, all by a wide margin. And we're pleased to share that we now have full distribution of the Beyond Burger with Costco across all locations in the United States. This record growth in retail occurred amid headlines of incumbents and upstarts entering the category and their products being sold next to ours. In no way complacent, we believe that our focus on rapid and constant improvement toward the highest product quality standards, listening to and connecting with the consumer and avoiding GMO and artificial ingredients continues to resonate.

We are expanding retail availability globally. For example, we started 2020 by announcing distribution across France in 500 retail grocery stores owned by the Casino Group, so the consumers who are enjoying our products at French quick-serve restaurants, such as PNY and Steak 'n Shake, can now add them to their shopping cart. This retail rollout in France follows a successful launch of the Beyond Burger and Beyond Sausage across other European supermarket chains, including the likes of Albert Heijn, Metro, EDEKA, Jumbo, Delhaize, Tesco, El Corte Inglés, Migros and Coop.

In Canada, we are now, like in the U.S., in full distribution with the Beyond Burger across all Costco stores. And recently, Canada became the first international market to sell our Beyond Beef product line, with distribution at all major retailers, including Sobeys, Loblaws, Metro, Whole Foods and Walmart.

In foodservice, we completed another quarter of outstanding sales and distribution growth, announcing new or expanding relationships with quick-serve restaurant partners. According to NPD's data for the fourth quarter of 2019, Beyond Meat is not only the largest plant-based meat brand in U.S. foodservice, it is also the fastest-growing brand with dollar sales up 180% year-over-year.

During the quarter, we expanded our partnership with Dunkin', making the Beyond Sausage Sandwich available in more than 9,000 Dunkin' stores nationwide. We launched the Beyond Burger at Denny's in the Los Angeles market. We expanded our relationship with Carl's Jr. through the introduction of 3 new menu items: the Beyond BBQ Cheeseburger, the Beyond Sausage Burrito, the Beyond Sausage Egg & Cheese Biscuit. And we announced a new partnership with Hardee's, including the offering of 4 Beyond items on the menu across the chain.

Our momentum in foodservice continues in 2020. We announced the expansion of our test with McDonald's to 52 restaurants in Southwestern Ontario; a nationwide limited-time offer of Beyond Meatball at Subway locations across Canada; a new limited-time test Beyond Fried Chicken at nearly 70 Kentucky Fried Chicken locations in Charlotte, North Carolina and Nashville, Tennessee. We expanded our partnership with Denny's locations nationwide across the U.S. and Canada. And we added the Beyond Sausage to Papa John's in over 70 locations throughout Spain. Most recently, we announced a new partner with Starbucks Canada around the Beyond Meat Cheddar and Egg Sandwich as a permanent menu item nationwide.

We are grateful and proud to serve each of our customers and believe strongly that our shared success embodies our commitment to the consumer to eat what you love, where you love it, while achieving health, sustainability and animal welfare gains.

I'd also like to take a moment to highlight the team's achievements as it relates to our collaboration with KFC. At our core, we strive to be an innovation engine, using technology to source the core parts of meat directly from plants, avoiding GMO and artificial ingredients. To foster this culture, the Beyond Meat Rapid and Relentless Innovation Program, we push to constantly improve our protein platforms, seeking to make our products indistinguishable from their animal protein equivalents.

For example, we were proud of the strong results from the 1-day test at KFC in Atlanta, Georgia in August, but we remained focused on introducing a more fibrous architecture in the product to better capture the muscle structure of a chicken breast. We are thankful to KFC for the shared vision, patience and spirit of partnership required to achieve this improvement at production scale. They have a saying, emanating from the days of the Colonel, around doing things the hard way even if it comes with added complexity, exhausting amounts of trial and error and other considerations. We believe the latest launch of Beyond Fried Chicken, which now exhibits more muscle structure and the process taken to get there, reflects this commitment to superior results. We look forward to continuing along the innovation curve with this and other products across our beef, pork and poultry platform.

Unlike other stores' innovation, the incumbent that we chase, the animal, is largely static, and the speed with which we can catch it is governed only by our willingness to invest, our ability to make the right research choices and the pace of our trial and error.

If I can impart one perspective on this call, it is the following: right now, and I won't try to bookend this, is a time of growth for Beyond Meat. Looking at our past, one could argue this has always been the case. And they'd be right to a point. There's something different about this moment. It comes clearer by the day that a growing number of consumers want what we are doing to work. We are fortunate to be leading this sector with all the benefits and challenges that accompany first-mover advantage.

The world is also rapidly changing in ways to propel this movement, a movement that is increasingly intertwined with our brand. Systemic port disruption in Asia, high school kids protesting the inaction they see with regard to greenhouse gas emission reduction, an increasing number of world-class athletes turning to plant-based eating to improve recovery and performance and more and more members of the medical community returning to the ancient Hippocratic understanding of food as medicine all come to mind. We hope our shareholders are aligned with us in believing that in order to build long-term value on a global scale and size, our focus today should be on aggressive growth, growth in terms of customers, geographies and markets, production infrastructure, innovation capabilities, product offerings and consumer engagement, even if this comes at the expense of near-term profit and margin expansion.

Along these lines, as we gain traction in global markets, it is our intention to add production capacity in key geographies to gain efficiencies and to participate economically in the communities that we serve. In Europe, we expect to open a new co-packing facility operated by our partner Zandbergen in the Netherlands by the end of this quarter. This more localized production will increase the availability and speed with which we can get Beyond Meat's products to customers across Europe and the Middle East.

Similarly, as we continue to grow in the Canadian market, we opened a co-manufacturing facility in Québec and are sourcing protein crops from Canada in addition to Europe and the United States.

Finally, we continue to focus on Asia with the goal of producing in the region before the end of 2020, pending some level of resolution of the coronavirus crisis. Though we are active with imports and distribution partners in Asia, the magnitude of the opportunity merits significant investment. Consistent with the sense of urgency we apply elsewhere in our business, we believe that the core price in Asia provides an unprecedented opening to introduce new production models for meat.

I want to now turn to competition and the subject of our ingredients and our process. Specifically, many of you may have seen TV, digital and newsprint advertisements funded by incumbent industry groups that challenge the ingredients we use and the production process we employ for our plant-based meats. We neither seek nor want an adversarial relationship with animal protein providers. As I've noted previously, we have great passion and respect for agricultural communities, the families that are the backbone therein, and we truly believe that what we are doing brings innovation back to the farmer. Like many new technologies, we bring change, but change that is rich with opportunity for many, though not all, within the agricultural supply chain.

As our industry grows, this positive economic impact within rural economies of our work should become clearer and I hope one day will overshadow the current and unfortunate zero-sum, [brand-averse] plant-based meat story line. Until then, because of the confusion that can result from industry-funded campaigns targeting plant-based meats, you will see our brand raise the profile of our ingredients and our process. We are proud of both and believe that, far from being a liability, our ingredients and our process represent important strengths.

As I've shared on previous earnings calls, we believe that building meat directly from plants gives us the opportunity to include that which is good about meat in our products and exclude or reduce that which consumers may have concern about. We do this without genetically modifying plants or using artificial ingredients. It is our view that all that is needed is within the plant kingdom already if you're willing to look and iterate long enough. In the coming months and for the balance of 2020, you will see us tell our story on ingredients and process with content across digital and print media, helping consumers have the information they need to make informed purchasing decisions.

Finally, a word on health. We've spoken at length about the pace and focus we apply to improving our products in our beef, pork and poultry platforms across flavor, aroma, appearance and texture. We've been less vocal with regard to our efforts to be a leader in the plant-based meat sector on health. In addition to continuing to research and qualify new, all-natural, plant-based inputs and deliver health advantages, we are raising the visibility of our work in this area with 2 important actions. One, we are joining the Partnership For A Healthier America, an organization founded to bring lasting, system-wide changes that increase healthy choices in the food supply. Two, we are creating an advisory board of leading experts in health and medicine to ensure that we have access to the latest thinking and peer-reviewed research on health, nutrition and ingredients. These initiatives will not only inform our research and development but will also help the consumer better understand the health benefits of our product lines.

In closing, we begin 2020 focused on growth and expansion. We are grateful to be in business with a growing number of leading retail, foodservice and quick-serve restaurant partners. We're increasing our retail presence across stores, our number of SKUs and our velocities. We are investing in research and development to advance product attributes across our beef, pork and poultry platforms while pursuing longer-term science and technology that may support step-change progress across sensory, nutritional and cost objectives. In the United States, Europe and Canada, we are starting up new production infrastructure with partners while growing our organizational team and talent across sales, marketing, operations, quality and innovation. In short, we remain focused today on establishing the building blocks necessary to become the global plant-based protein company we envision for tomorrow.

I'd like to now turn the call over to Mark Nelson, our Chief Financial Officer, who'll walk us through fourth quarter results in detail.

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Mark J. Nelson, Beyond Meat, Inc. - CFO & Treasurer [5]

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Thank you, Ethan, and good afternoon, everyone. We are very pleased with our fourth quarter and full year financial results and our continued opportunities for future long-term growth. As Ethan indicated, net revenues in the quarter were $98.5 million, up 212% compared to the fourth quarter of last year. Growth in net revenues for the fourth quarter of 2019 was driven primarily by an increase in volume of products sold from our fresh platform across retail, restaurant and foodservice channels. This reflects continued expansion in the number of retail and foodservice points of distribution, including new strategic customers, new international customers and higher sales velocities at our existing customers.

Looking at our distribution channels. Retail net revenue increased 199%, while restaurant and foodservice net revenues increased 223% versus the fourth quarter 2018. Sales to international customers, excluding Canada, represented 26% of our net revenues during the quarter, up 17% in the prior year period. Given the substantial growth and strategic importance of our international business, beginning with our first quarter 2020 financial results, we will break out international separately from our current distribution channel reporting structure.

On the product side, gross revenues for our fresh platform increased 238% versus the year ago period, representing 97% of our gross revenues in the fourth quarter of 2019 compared to 87% of gross revenues in the fourth quarter of 2018. Gross revenues for our frozen platform decreased 17% year-over-year primarily due to the discontinuation of our frozen chicken products in first quarter 2019. We continue to prioritize distribution expansion and increased sales velocity of our fresh products across retail, foodservice and international channels. Due to the declining proportion of our frozen product category revenues, which in 2019 represented 5% of gross revenue, we will no longer be reporting a product category breakout commencing in the first quarter of 2020.

Gross profit was $33.5 million or 34% of net revenues in the fourth quarter of 2019 compared to $7.9 million or 25% of net revenues in the fourth quarter of last year. The 900 basis point year-over-year improvement in gross margin was primarily driven by operating leverage from the increase in volume of products sold, other production efficiency improvements and a more favorable sales mix of our fresh products relative to Q4 2018. However, Q4 2019 gross margin improvements were partially offset by temporary disruptions related to capacity expansion projects at 2 of our co-manufacturing partners, which drove the sequential decline in gross margins as compared to the third quarter of 2019.

Over the next several years, we continue to expect that gross profit improvements will be delivered primarily through improved volume leverage, greater internalization of our manufacturing footprint, materials and packaging input cost reductions, tolling fee efficiencies and improved supply chain logistics and distribution costs. As we have stated previously, over time, we intend to pass some of these cost savings on to the consumer as we pursue our goal to achieve price parity with animal protein in at least one of our product categories by 2024.

In addition to leveraging our cost of goods sold, we were also able to achieve strong year-over-year operating cost leverage in Q4 2019. Operating expenses were 34.9% of net revenues in the fourth quarter of 2019 as compared to 47.6% in Q4 last year. Net loss was $0.5 million or $0.01 per common share compared to net loss of $7.5 million or $1.10 per common share in the fourth quarter of last year. The narrowed year-over-year net loss was primarily the result of the increase in net revenues and gross profit compared to Q4 2018, while the sequential decline in net income relative to Q3 2019 was predominantly the result of higher stock-based compensation expense as we recognized an accumulation of pending awards for brand ambassadors and new employees in Q4 2019 at a higher fair market value per share.

Adjusted EBITDA was $9.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2019 compared to an adjusted EBITDA loss of $3.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2018. The improvement in adjusted EBITDA was primarily the result of our strong revenue growth and gross margin expansion as well as operating expense leverage achieved during the quarter.

Now looking at our capital structure. The company's cash and cash equivalent balance was $276 million, and total debt outstanding was $30.6 million as of December 31, 2019. Net cash used in operating activities was $47 million for the year ended December 31, 2019, compared to $37.7 million for the prior year period. Capital expenditures totaled $23.8 million for 2019 compared to $22.2 million for the prior year.

Finally, shifting to our full year outlook for 2020. We expect net revenues to be in the range of $490 million to $510 million, representing year-over-year growth of 64% to 71% compared to 2019. We expect gross margin to be in the range of 33% to 35% and adjusted EBITDA as a percent of net revenues to be approximately equivalent to our 2019 levels as we anticipate accelerated investments in marketing, R&D and international expansion initiatives in 2020. Furthermore, as a result of the phasing of these investments, we expect profit delivery to be more heavily weighted towards the latter portions of the year.

With that, I'll now turn the call back over to Ethan.

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Ethan Brown, Beyond Meat, Inc. - Founder, President, CEO & Director [6]

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Thank you, Mark. In closing, we are very pleased with the results for the fourth quarter and for 2019. We are more excited than ever about the opportunities before us and the work we are doing today to lay the foundation for future growth.

I would now like to turn it over to the operator for questions.

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Questions and Answers

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Operator [1]

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(Operator Instructions) Our first question comes from Ken Goldman with JPMorgan.

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Kenneth B. Goldman, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Senior Analyst [2]

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Two for me, if I can. First, Seth, it's never a good sign, I'd say, when a founder, a senior leader sort of pulls back on his or her responsibilities. I'm sure you have your reasons, but could you fill us in a little bit on what your thought process is, why now and why it's not necessarily a bad indicator for those of us on the outside looking in?

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Ethan Brown, Beyond Meat, Inc. - Founder, President, CEO & Director [3]

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Ken, so what was your second question? We'll get Seth back on the line. What was the second part?

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Kenneth B. Goldman, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Senior Analyst [4]

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Yes. Sure. I stunned him.

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Ethan Brown, Beyond Meat, Inc. - Founder, President, CEO & Director [5]

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Yes. No, he left. He said he was going to be back.

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Kenneth B. Goldman, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Senior Analyst [6]

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He had enough -- I didn't realize he was leaving the company that quickly. So I guess my other question, Ethan, is you -- I think both this quarter and the third quarter, your U.S. and Canada retail locations were sort of flat at 28,000. First, is that correct? And second, is that a little bit of a downside surprise that nothing grew? Or is it just a timing situation?

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Ethan Brown, Beyond Meat, Inc. - Founder, President, CEO & Director [7]

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Yes. No, definitely not downside. I mean if you look at -- you're right in the number, and if you look at the direction of the company, we're growing extremely fast within retail from a velocity perspective, 127% over the 12-week period ending 12/29/19. Four of the top-selling products in retail in the meat -- plant-based meat category are ours. We only have 6 SKUs. So that's the main message is that we have a very small number of SKUs in each of our retail locations. And so instead of trying to grow the footprint, we are more focused on product introduction into those new -- sorry, into those existing retail outlets, and we'll be doing that this year. If you look at the pace at which we grew internationally within retail with the addition, for example, of the French retailer, many throughout Europe, we're seeing more growth there. But it is purposeful. We're trying to maximize those relationships as well as growing foodservice internationally.

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Seth Goldman, Beyond Meat, Inc. - Executive Chairman [8]

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This is Seth. Sorry, Ken, I was on mute. But this decision, I feel very comfortable with. I mean Ethan and I have been collaborating for so long. And this is just a matter of me having such confidence in the team, which, frankly, 18 months ago, we didn't have the level, the caliber of leadership we have to support Ethan. So now we do. And I'm absolutely going to continue to be engaged. I am -- will continue to be out there every month as I have been and just excited to see it continue to grow and flourish.

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Operator [9]

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Our next question comes from Adam Samuelson with Goldman Sachs.

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Adam L. Samuelson, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division - Equity Analyst [10]

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I was hoping to maybe dissect the 2020 outlook a little bit and specifically on the revenue growth expectations. One, just to clarify, is it still prior practice that you're only including in guidance products in the market with customers that you have today? Or is there some expectation of channel expansion and distribution point expansion, especially internationally, that is embedded in there?

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Ethan Brown, Beyond Meat, Inc. - Founder, President, CEO & Director [11]

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Yes. So we continue to adhere to that practice. We don't build in expected customers, we build in only those which we've won. So if you consider -- for example, what's in the forecast would be things like Starbucks Canada, Dunkin', Subway Canada, Costco, the French retailer I mentioned, things like that. What would be out would be things like China as a region, KFC, McDonald's, et cetera. So we try to take a very conservative approach to what's included in the guidance.

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Adam L. Samuelson, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division - Equity Analyst [12]

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Okay. So -- and that's very helpful. So in that kind of breakdown then, just maybe frame kind of the expectation for domestic versus international growth, just velocity. And on the velocity point, maybe in the last 3 to 6 months, any view on differences in velocity by retailer where there is more competing brands on the shelf? Is it -- are those guys also expanding the category, bringing people to the aisle? Or are you seeing your market share, your velocity change when new products are put side -- put head-to-head to you?

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Ethan Brown, Beyond Meat, Inc. - Founder, President, CEO & Director [13]

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Yes. No, it's been -- the fourth quarter was a really important moment for us in that regard in the sense that the headlines were full of incumbents coming into the category, and Beyond Meat was going to get crushed, and we've got to start discounting all of our products. And in fact, much -- about 11% of the beat that you guys saw was due to the fact that we actually discounted less than we had modeled and anticipated. So it was sort of the inverse. Instead of having to discount to compete, we continue to keep our pricing where we need it to be and continue to outperform the other brands in the market.

If you think about in the refrigerated plant-based meat set in retail, we're outselling our closest competition by a factor of 2. And that's, again, with just 6 SKUs. So we feel really good about our ability to compete. We've always expected this competition. And it just comes down to who has the best product, who has a brand that resonates with consumers, who has the right ingredients, who's willing to innovate at the pace that we do.

Internationally -- you had a question about international?

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Adam L. Samuelson, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division - Equity Analyst [14]

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Yes. Just the revenue growth in domestic, international, just how you dissect that as you think about 2020.

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Ethan Brown, Beyond Meat, Inc. - Founder, President, CEO & Director [15]

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Yes. So we do expect about the same percentage of international sales that we had in 2019 and 2020. And again, we think that's just part of being conservative. We are going to pursue a lot of activities internationally this year, including putting -- and I'll touch on this later -- more production in the EU, production in Asia. So -- but we wanted to not get ahead of ourselves, and so we left that percentage about the same.

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Operator [16]

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Our next question comes from Robert Moskow with Crédit Suisse.

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Robert Bain Moskow, Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division - Research Analyst [17]

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I have a question about the R&D efforts and particularly at KFC. You said that you've developed a better chicken product. Is that -- are you done? Or are there going to be continuous iterations to make it better? And then kind of the same kind of question for your burger products. Ethan, I know you say you're always striving to make it closer and closer to meat, but does that mean that I should expect a 25%, 50% increase in R&D spending to make that happen? And what are all the R&D resources doing specifically to make it better?

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Ethan Brown, Beyond Meat, Inc. - Founder, President, CEO & Director [18]

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Right. Great set of questions. With KFC, yes, we always will be making that product, as all of our products, better. I mentioned in the comments that KFC was a great partner in that regard, giving us the patience and room to do that. And it's important to get that muscle structure right. But in innovation, we do have these 3 platforms: beef, pork and poultry. We continue to drive across 4 parameters there: flavor, aroma, appearance and texture to try to optimize those so that the gap between our products and animal protein diminishes every year. So there's a lot of fundamental work going on to accomplish that in the disciplines you'd expect.

We have over 100 folks now in our research and development center all working on these issues. We also have applied research going on. So we've split the team in 2. It's more complicated than this, but in 2 camps essentially, we have the fundamental research teams and we have applied research. And applied research is divided into groups that focus on specific QSRs. We want to serve them the best that we possibly can. And so we have dedicated groups to be able to run down [pathos] of them around different SKUs that they would like from us and products they'd like from us. So over time, we also have this more disruptive platform, whether it's steak, bacon or the fresh chicken breast that I mentioned. And so if you think about that, the organization is really around that fundamental research, applied research and then something we refer to as the longer-term moonshots.

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Robert Bain Moskow, Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division - Research Analyst [19]

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Okay. Can I ask a follow-up, Ethan?

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Ethan Brown, Beyond Meat, Inc. - Founder, President, CEO & Director [20]

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Sure.

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Robert Bain Moskow, Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division - Research Analyst [21]

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You mentioned in your prepared remarks that you're going to take more steps from a marketing standpoint to respond to the, I guess, criticism about your product and other plant-based meat substitutes. Can you tell me, are you hearing anything from consumers or your brand ambassadors any concerns that are similar to what we're seeing in these rather biased attacks?

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Ethan Brown, Beyond Meat, Inc. - Founder, President, CEO & Director [22]

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No. Thank you for the question. Not really. I think that so many of our consumers are also advocates of what we're doing, and so they've taken the time to get to know our products and get to know ingredients and our ethos around no GMOs, nothing artificial. It's the efforts to expand the addressable market that we have and to cut down on some of this noise that's being generated is why we're investing so much in explaining the health of our products, explaining the process. And I'd really get back to the process and whether or not people would be more comfortable with our process or the process that we are often competing against, which is traditional animal agriculture. And so we're going to do a lot this year to educate the consumer on exactly how our products are made, and I think the results of that will be very strong.

On the health side, as I mentioned, one of the things that I'm really excited about is this medical advisory board. We want to have people around us that have access to and are driving the latest peer-reviewed literature on and research on the link between nutrition and disease so that we can continue to make our products healthier and healthier. It's part of our mantra of constant improvement. And we've just been less vocal about it, but this year, you'll hear us be much more vocal about it.

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Operator [23]

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Our next question comes from Bryan Spillane with Bank of America.

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Bryan Douglass Spillane, BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - MD of Equity Research [24]

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So I guess I had 2 questions I wanted to ask. One was just, as you've looked at the growth this year and you've had especially more traffic in restaurants, maybe getting a better sense of who is actually buying the product, maybe versus what you originally expected, I don't know, 2 or 3 years ago, is the consumer who's consuming the products, is that profile different? Or is it younger? Or is it just a different consumer? And then just tied to that, any sense right now for how much of the sales and the growth is still trial versus repeat purchases.

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Ethan Brown, Beyond Meat, Inc. - Founder, President, CEO & Director [25]

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Sure. No, great questions. I'll just start with the repeat question. So in retail, we continue to have very strong repeat numbers for packaged food at 45.8%, I think, was the most recent number we got. And if you look at the consumer trends in terms of who's coming into the brand, it does shake out as we have expected over the last several years with people who are 40 and over being driven by health and then secondary considerations around environment and animal welfare and things of that nature. Well, I think what is surprising to us is the youth movement around this brand and the youth movement around plant-based meat in general, and that is really being driven by sustainability and by animal welfare. And I think it's picking up on the same vein that you see, as I mentioned in my comments, of high school children and college-age students really getting active around inaction on climate and becoming active around some of the issues that -- and none of these ideas are new. I mean if you look at Diet For A Small Planet or Silent Spring, all these books were written over 50 years ago now -- or I think Diet For A Small Planet is 1971 actually. But the ideas have been there, but it's that process of the public becoming more and more aware of it. And that has now galvanized an entire generation around the work that we're doing and others are doing to help address climate. So that does surprise me, the strength and the passion of that movement among the younger crowd.

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Bryan Douglass Spillane, BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - MD of Equity Research [26]

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All right. And then just one quick follow-up. In terms of capacity, can you -- have you -- can you give us a sense of how much capacity you have available for 2020 relative to your revenue guide?

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Ethan Brown, Beyond Meat, Inc. - Founder, President, CEO & Director [27]

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Yes. For sure. So as we begin the year, we have roughly, I'd say, $700 million or so in gross revenue capacity. But we will scale that to over $1 billion by the end of the year. We're sourcing now pea protein from several different providers, so we're happy about that, as well as -- people often overlook the fact that we do use other proteins. So we have suppliers for sunflower seed protein, mung bean protein, brown rice protein, for example. We're really investing in internal production. We have several year-end targets, as I mentioned, around West Coast production, our extrusion capacity in the EU and then -- and of course, the Asian production, which we've signed up to for -- to put in place by the end of the year, pending the coronavirus settling a little bit.

And we're also adding more co-packers to our network. We have about 6 now, should -- we have 6 now, and we'll be adding 5 additional ones this year. So we are making the investments. And that's really what I was talking about in terms of this is our moment, this is our time for growth. We want to make sure that we're investing not only in R&D to keep pushing forward and getting closer and closer to that animal protein equivalent, to do the fundamental work necessary to make sure that there's nothing that's going to disrupt us and then continue to grow that production footprint so we're able to serve demand as it increases and of course, the marketing efforts to get out there and really clarify some of the things that are being used negatively to slow our sales.

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Operator [28]

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Our next question comes from Benjamin Theurer with Barclays.

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Benjamin M. Theurer, Barclays Bank PLC, Research Division - Head of the Mexico Equity Research & Director [29]

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Ethan, Mark and Seth, congrats on the results for 2019. So actually, following up on the question from Bryan and with the capacity available, could you update us on your CapEx needs for 2020? Do you think this is still going to be roughly in that $40 million range you've mentioned, which would be almost doubled in what you've essentially spent in 2019? And if you could give us a breakdown of the CapEx allocation in between international and domestic to get a sense of where you really focus on capital expenditure. And then I have a quick follow-up.

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Mark J. Nelson, Beyond Meat, Inc. - CFO & Treasurer [30]

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Ben, it's Mark. So we -- I think that's a good number. I think we're talking about the same proportion of CapEx spending to revenue that we saw in 2019. So that would put us close to that $40 million. I think that may scale as we look at opportunities potentially to acquire additional assets. But the breakdown as far as what's in international, I believe we've talked about that extrusion footprint driving about 20% of that capital. We don't have an exact deployment because we're still putting assets down and trying to understand what the best configuration is. But I'd say that's a pretty good capital number for us overall.

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Benjamin M. Theurer, Barclays Bank PLC, Research Division - Head of the Mexico Equity Research & Director [31]

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Okay. And then my follow-up was on the international piece. I mean clearly, taste profiles within Europe, within Asia, there are certain differences to taste profiles in the U.S. and Canada. So how much of R&D do you think is actually needed to get closer to some of the more regional taste profiles in those markets and in Europe that are -- even within Europe, significant differences, but then also going over to China, other Asian countries at some stage. How much do you think you need to invest in R&D to get the product right for those markets in order to be successful?

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Ethan Brown, Beyond Meat, Inc. - Founder, President, CEO & Director [32]

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That's a great question. And so we do look at that in 2 different buckets. The first is we're trying to create that blank canvas that is beef, pork or poultry that can be then utilized by folks in whatever culinary application they want. And so to some degree, it's really about just being as true as we possibly can to the taste, texture, appearance and aroma of the animal protein that we're targeting. But you're right, there is -- when it comes to preparation and to value-added meals and things like that, a flavory profile that people have come to expect regionally, and we do work extensively on that. We also have flavor houses that are very well versed in serving different cultures. So I wouldn't say it's a massive investment on our part. It does come up quite a bit as we talk to, as an example, a QSR that has footprints in more than one region of the world. But there's -- from my perspective, I haven't seen it have a big budgetary impact.

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Operator [33]

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Our next question comes from Rob Dickerson with Jefferies.

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Robert Frederick Dickerson, Jefferies LLC, Research Division - MD & Senior Research Analyst [34]

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I just had a question on the price parity goal by, I think you said, 2024. And I think it's 1 SKU. I know now you only have 6 SKUs, maybe you'd have more SKUs by then. But regardless of all that, it's just kind of more just a general thought process of, I guess, how you do that. And I just -- I ask the question just kind of relative to how traditional meat companies operate at a level of profitability that they're willing to operate and how that product might be a bit more commoditized, obviously, than your maybe more value-add products. So just how do you bridge the gap from price point relative to cost production scale and then margin profile to get to that price point? That's it.

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Ethan Brown, Beyond Meat, Inc. - Founder, President, CEO & Director [35]

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So I'm sitting -- that's a good question. I'm sitting across the table from margin Mark himself, and so I have promised him that I'm not going to reach this goal at the expense of his margin. But in all seriousness, it really starts with direct material and direct labor, and I can go through that in a little bit. So if you look at our efforts to grow the protein supply chain, a lot of that is focused on cost, right? It's how do we get more competition, how do we get different providers in that have access to protein in the markets that we're producing. So I think you will see a cost structure shift downward in the protein supply. And then it comes to things like flavor. We have very extensive dialogues with some of the ingredient houses we work with and explain this goal, lay it out and try to join hands on getting that reduction that we need.

And then on the production side -- and so I guess, before I leave that point of materials, there's no material obstacle to underpricing animal protein. So where I came from, I was in a sector where we had issues with precious metals and energy, and the commodity market's moving in the wrong direction, right? And that's not happening here. It's, in fact, the other way. So I don't see a material obstacle to underpricing. Then you start to look at labor costs and handling costs, logistics costs, we have still a lot of low-hanging fruit, without a doubt. If you look at the way our production is set up, it was set up for speed to market, not necessarily for optimized efficiency. And so we do have a lot of design work occurring around continuous lines that would allow us to take out a lot of that handling logistics costs that we currently have in today.

So between those 2, I'm very comfortable with the target we've set. And in fact, I think we're being conservative. I believe we can achieve that in a couple of different areas. So I'm very much looking forward to it. Because I think if you ask the consumer, think about 3, 4 years from now, we get the product to the point where it's indistinguishable from animal protein from a sensory experience. It satiates. It provides that aroma, texture, et cetera, has nutrition that either meets or exceeds that of animal protein, and then it's lower cost than animal protein. There are very few consumers, I think, that say I just don't want that, right? And so it's really important to me that we get there, and we're setting up the organization to do that.

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Operator [36]

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Our next question comes from Alexia Howard with Bernstein.

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Alexia Jane Burland Howard, Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC., Research Division - Senior Analyst [37]

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So 2 questions. First of all, I know when we met last summer, there was some discussion about how, over the next couple of years, you might like to bring some of that co-packing capacity in-house so that you're actually doing the whole end-to-end production and that, that would have a beneficial impact on margins but might distort the asset-light model that you've got just by focusing on the extrusion stage of the process. I know that you had some trouble with co-packers in the past, but has your thinking changed on that because, obviously, it's great that you can throw down these extrusions and they're fairly cheap to put in and, obviously, it takes work to do the co-packing arrangements? But has your thinking changed? Should we still be factoring that in around about 2022 or so? And then I have a follow-up.

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Ethan Brown, Beyond Meat, Inc. - Founder, President, CEO & Director [38]

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Sure. So no, great question. And I don't think it has changed. We do intend to increase the amount of internal production that we do. We will strike a balance between in-house and the more dual model that we have right now. But we are looking at facilities, both on the East and West Coast in the U.S. here, that would allow us to go from protein all the way through to packaged good. And that is around that cost model, the reason we're pursuing that. So I think the model remains the same. We're just actually executing it, and you'll see some of that in-house production and continuous line work occur before 2022.

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Alexia Jane Burland Howard, Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC., Research Division - Senior Analyst [39]

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Okay. Very helpful. And then I'm sorry if I missed this, but did you actually quantify how much your marketing spending is expected to increase this year?

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Ethan Brown, Beyond Meat, Inc. - Founder, President, CEO & Director [40]

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We did not give a number. No.

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Operator [41]

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Our next question comes from Rupesh Parikh with Oppenheimer.

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Rupesh Dhinoj Parikh, Oppenheimer & Co. Inc., Research Division - MD & Senior Analyst [42]

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I was hoping to ask more about what you guys are seeing in the competitive backdrop in some of your international markets versus what you're seeing in the U.S.

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Ethan Brown, Beyond Meat, Inc. - Founder, President, CEO & Director [43]

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Right. So good question. In the EU, we are seeing a lot of entrants into the market. We've been able to try a lot of those products, and we still feel pretty comfortable about where we are. But certainly, that market is more fragmented with a lot of different players. So you would expect that, and that is occurring. In Asia, there's 2 things going on really. One is there's the kind of historical, legacy plant-based meats that came out of work of Buddhist temples and things like that that are known there and, I think, accepted. And then there are some start-ups that I think are reacting to not only the pork crisis they're having there but the success of companies like ours, and they're forming companies to go after that market in Asia. But there is not yet a competitor that we feel has been able to do what we're doing at the scale that we're doing, with the quality we're doing and -- the quality that we were able to achieve, rather. And so we stay very, very hungry and focused on making sure that we're leading the market. And in all the statistics that I shared with you today, we are, and we plan to keep it that way.

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Rupesh Dhinoj Parikh, Oppenheimer & Co. Inc., Research Division - MD & Senior Analyst [44]

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Okay. Great. And if I can just ask one more follow-up. So obviously, a lot of headlines out there, just regarding all your foodservice wins and maybe one loss out there as well. So just curious, what would you say is your overall feedback from your customers on the foodservice side, and any positive or negative surprises thus far?

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Ethan Brown, Beyond Meat, Inc. - Founder, President, CEO & Director [45]

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I think it's just really positive. The list, we're very proud of it. I'll get back to that statistic of the 650,000 outlets in the U.S., we're in less than 4%. But if you think about the names that we're working with, in a more general sense, from McDonald's to KFC to Hardee's, Denny's, Subway, Starbucks, Del Taco, Dunkin', A&W, TGI Fridays, there's so many, it's hard to list them all. And the key there is to serve not only the management there in terms of their expectations about movement but really the franchisees, right? That's where I think the really important work occurs. Are we increasing foot traffic? Are we increasing sales? Have we made a product that adds complexity to the back house or makes it simpler for them or is a rough exchange? All of those things really matter. One of the things that's going to start to matter more is pricing. And so again, you see me coming back to this notion of plant-based meat should not be more expensive than animal protein. We have to lead the market on that. We have to lead the market and help these QSRs differentiate on health and things of that nature.

So I think, if anything, it's a very pleasant surprise, or I don't know if surprise is the right word, but it's an encouraging sign that so many of these QSR partners are leaning in not to check the box, but they believe in what we're doing. And I think the franchisees are excited about what we're doing. So I had the opportunity to work with many of those as we do these launches, and I think I'm getting a glimpse into something that's quite special that this -- that consumer, that market, those customers seem to be leaning in this the way that I've never seen before, and we've been working on this for a long time.

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Operator [46]

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Our next question comes from Jon Andersen with William Blair.

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Jon Robert Andersen, William Blair & Company L.L.C., Research Division - Partner [47]

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I was wondering -- I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about service levels, just the operational side of the business and how you're servicing customers. And I know that given the rapid growth, that's an ongoing challenge and effort, so just could you talk a little bit about that in terms of overall service level?

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Ethan Brown, Beyond Meat, Inc. - Founder, President, CEO & Director [48]

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Sure. Thank you for the question. So our -- although we don't get into fill rates specifically, we really have risen now to kind of what's more considered best-in-class, at least in that range, in terms of our fill rates. And 2 years ago or so, we were really, really quite poor in that area. So I'm very pleased with the change that we've seen. And we have such a good team now in operations. Stephanie Hart has been with us for a long time. She continues to do great work, bringing in Sanjay Shah who has been exceptional coming out of the really hyper growth environment at Amazon and then at Tesla. So we are trying to surround ourselves with people that not only extend high growth but also supplement that with people who are really versed in food manufacturing. You have to combine those 2 kind of perspectives because they often don't exist in the same organization, and we're putting those together here. So I feel really comfortable about where we are on an operations basis from where we were a year ago.

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Jon Robert Andersen, William Blair & Company L.L.C., Research Division - Partner [49]

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Great. That's helpful. Mark, I think you talked about the second half of the year perhaps being a little bit stronger from a sales or margin perspective. Could you just kind of discuss that a little bit more, cadence through the year? Is there anything we should be aware of quarter-to-quarter, either in terms of sales or margin results as you look at 2020?

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Mark J. Nelson, Beyond Meat, Inc. - CFO & Treasurer [50]

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Yes. So we continue to think the back half will be stronger. We've mapped out about a 60-40 split on revenue, so 40% in the first half, 60% of the volume coming in, in the back half. I believe you shouldn't see too much shift in margin throughout the quarters. But because of the increased spending in R&D and marketing, we're going to be investing more aggressively upfront. So you'll see that profit contribution probably be even stronger towards the latter quarters. But once again, that revenue targeting around $490 million to $510 million, call it a -- as we look to be approximately $500 million, it does only incorporate the things that we know, those things that have launched. And can quantify, and we can see them and map them out by quarter. So as the forecast sits right now, that's kind of the picture that we see.

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Jon Robert Andersen, William Blair & Company L.L.C., Research Division - Partner [51]

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Great. Really helpful. If I could squeeze just one more in, is the temporary issue that you mentioned with a couple of co-packers, is that behind you now? Or is there any kind of lingering impact from that?

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Mark J. Nelson, Beyond Meat, Inc. - CFO & Treasurer [52]

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Yes. That is largely behind us. As we went to start-up, you saw some yield loss as you typically do when you start up production. We think that, that may have been a couple hundred basis points impact on gross margins in the quarter. The other element in the quarter, we had a much stronger stock-based compensation expense, and that really had been the accumulation of awards as we had gone through the lockup period and granted the majority of those grants in the fourth quarter. So the combination of those 2 had a kind of binary impact on the EPS in the quarter. We expect our stock comp to stabilize as we move forward into 2020. And certainly, there'll be blips in gross margin here, and then -- but those kind of capacity expansion projects are behind us at those (inaudible).

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Jon Robert Andersen, William Blair & Company L.L.C., Research Division - Partner [53]

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Congratulations on an incredible year.

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Ethan Brown, Beyond Meat, Inc. - Founder, President, CEO & Director [54]

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Thank you very much. Appreciate that.

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Operator [55]

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Our next question comes from Steve Strycula with UBS.

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Steven A. Strycula, UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - Director and Equity Research Analyst [56]

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So my first question would be on the revenue guidance. The midpoint takes you to $500 million, which is definitely impressive growth, and $200 million incremental revenues versus what we had in 2019. So my question, Mark, would be how off of $200 million of incremental revenue do the gross margins not go up on a year-over-year basis in a material way? And specifically, can you kind of quantify how much of it goes back into reinvestment or international margins just much lower? That would be helpful. And then I have a quick follow-up.

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Mark J. Nelson, Beyond Meat, Inc. - CFO & Treasurer [57]

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Sure. And so the margin range, 33% to 35%, as we look into 2020, once again, the visibility of our mix and how we've kind of modeled the forecast, some of the offsetting impacts we expect, and we're going to be investing in promotion and trade. We know that. And we want to continue to be prominent and be the leader as we go into retail. There's additional investments in the international space. So we'll be -- certainly, as we drive into the international area, we'll be spending more, looking at optimum pricing in that area. And then the -- we always look at mix. To the extent that QSR is stronger, as that starts to come in, does that have an impact on our overall margin.

To go out with that kind of growth, we certainly are looking at things that will help to offset that. We have tremendous programs as far as cost savings, looking at internalization of manufacturing material and packaging cost savings, but just the timing of those and as those start to impact margins and offset some of the investment we're doing. So that's what we see right now in the forecast. And certainly, as we progress through the year, we'll update as we go along.

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Steven A. Strycula, UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - Director and Equity Research Analyst [58]

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Ethan, I'll ask you about the foodservice business. I wanted to understand as you build out that business quite quickly and as you kind of work to improve or in-source some of these middle parts of the supply chain, do you get any pushback from the foodservice companies in terms of multi-sourcing since they own the formulations for some of these products in some cases? I mean if it's branded Beyond, clearly, they're not going to source it from someone else. But in cases where it's not, how should investors think about large suppliers wanting to diversify their production and make sure that everything is filled on time?

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Ethan Brown, Beyond Meat, Inc. - Founder, President, CEO & Director [59]

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Yes. Great question. And you're right, there is attention there. And I think how we've addressed that with large QSRs is we really have worked in concert with their operations team. So to use the KFC example, but I could go all the way back to A&W, they've been in our facilities with us. We've asked them what they need in terms of redundancy and in terms of feeling good about that particular issue. We're now, for example, some of the other QSRS, qualifying -- or rather calibrating a relationship with some of their co-packers. So groups that they've worked with for decades on end are going to be producing some of our products on the co-packing side. So it's really about beginning the relationship with a dialogue and listening to them and what that concern is and then how we can help mitigate that without giving up our formula or without requiring them to try to do something that's going to rival us someday. So we've been, I think, fortunate in avoiding that issue so far.

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Operator [60]

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In the interest of time, our final question comes from Michael Lavery with Piper Sandler.

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Michael Scott Lavery, Piper Sandler & Co., Research Division - Director & Senior Research Analyst [61]

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Just back on the pricing strategy, I understand the interest to make it more broadly appealing to bring the price down and give that back to consumers. But if you have consumers already willing to pay a premium now, is there any way you might consider a tiered strategy where you would have a premium price point and something a little bit more of a value price point below that?

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Ethan Brown, Beyond Meat, Inc. - Founder, President, CEO & Director [62]

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Yes. It's a great question, and that's something I think about all the time. You will see that. And so if you look at the way the animal protein market is today, you see degrees of that with Angus and things of that nature. So we'll continue to push the envelope on our products in terms of the ingredient claims. And someday there may be an organic version, not committing to that at all, but we will find ways to continue to deliver high levels of innovation that may cost more while supplementing that with products that are more accessible from a price point. So yes, I think it's a really good strategy, and one we will consider.

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Michael Scott Lavery, Piper Sandler & Co., Research Division - Director & Senior Research Analyst [63]

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Okay. Great. And just a follow-up on the repeat level, you gave a retail number, if I heard you correctly. But any sense how it compares on the foodservice side? I know some of those launches are so new, it may be harder to have data. But is it a similar repeat usage rate? How does that play out so far?

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Ethan Brown, Beyond Meat, Inc. - Founder, President, CEO & Director [64]

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Yes. They -- in the cases they do share the data with us, we obviously wouldn't be able to share that. I know you're not asking for that. But as a general observation, we think there is, it's gone well beyond just trial. And there are consumers that are buying more and more of it. And I think the best indication that's public about that is the fact that some of the QSRs we've been working with for a while are adding new Beyond items to their menu. So Del Taco would be a good example. Carl's Jr. would be a good example of that. A&W, launching first with the burger and then going with sausage. So we hope we're doing a good job serving them and that they continue to expand their menu offers with Beyond. And I think that speaks to the fact that they're getting more and more consumers coming back with repeat purchases.

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Operator [65]

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Ladies and gentlemen, this concludes our question-and-answer session. I would now like to turn the call back over to Ethan Brown for any closing remarks.

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Ethan Brown, Beyond Meat, Inc. - Founder, President, CEO & Director [66]

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Thank you very much, and thank you for joining today. I think the main message that I really did want to impart is around growth. The opportunity before us, I think, is unprecedented. The consumer is ready for what we're doing. We're in a position to execute against that consumer expectation and desire for our products. You'll see us make a lot of investment this year in our production capacity, in our international growth, in our marketing and, of course, continuing to research and push forward the idea that you can build a piece of meat directly from plants that is indistinguishable from animal protein. We'll keep working with these QSR partners and hopefully bring in new products to market that folks can enjoy. We really do believe in the notion that we're here creating products that will enable the consumer to eat what they love and where they love it. So we look forward to continuing to talk in coming quarters. Thank you.

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Operator [67]

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Ladies and gentlemen, this concludes today's conference call. Thank you for participating. You may now disconnect.