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Why Tyson Foods pulled its Beyond Meat investment

Heidi Chung
Reporter

Plant-based meat is all the rage, and protein-giant Tyson Foods plans to fully compete in the space.

After investing in alternative meat maker Beyond Meat, Tyson exited its 6.5% investment in late April 2019 ahead of Beyond Meat’s initial public offering. “We have all the resources available to us from a culinary standpoint, R&D standpoint, manufacturing, distribution,” Tyson Foods CEO Noel White told Yahoo Finance at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “We have solid customer contacts. So it's a space that we want to fully compete in, use all the resources that are available to us, and be a strong competitor in the marketplace.”

[Watch Yahoo Finance’s free live coverage of the 50th annual World Economic Forum]

(Courtesy of Tyson Foods)

The largest meat producer in the U.S. introduced its own line of plant-based products in its new Raised & Rooted brand in June. “We rolled out our offering this summer, and it's gone very well,” White said. “We are now in over 7,000 retail stores in the United States, and there's a series of products that we'll be rolling out over the course of the next 12 to 18 months in all different varieties, in all different forms, both branded, including some of our legacy brands that we have in the marketplace today, that will be both meat-based protein as well as alternative proteins.”

Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are some of the more high-profile plant-based protein makers as of late, but larger and more legacy food producers like Tyson Foods and Nestlé have also jumped on the bandwagon. Some analysts argue that companies like Tyson Foods and Nestlé have an upper hand because of their deeper pockets, established supply chains and stable infrastructure.

White explained that Tyson Foods doesn’t need to buy a company like Beyond Meat or Impossible Foods to be competitive in the space. “We already had the infrastructure in place, so it's a fairly minimal investment on our behalf to be able to scale very quickly. And as I mentioned, we have all the resources already in place. So based on what the purchase price likely would have been, it was much more feasible for us to just develop all the further capabilities ourselves.”

Heidi Chung is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @heidi_chung.

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