In 2016, Whole Foods became the
frst retailer to sell Beyond Meat alongside animal meat. Then all hell broke
loose and everybody did it. Last summer, ours became the top-selling packaged burger in Southern California for
the nation’s largest food retailer. My
goal had been to not get thrown out of
the meat case. But it was clear: We’re
not speaking just to vegans. The mainstream is ready for this.
We didn’t start with venture capital,
so we’ve always listened to our cus-
tomers. (They pay the bills.) It’s
created this beautiful system: The
consumers pull for it, we make it bet-
ter, welcome more consumers, make it
better. Ultimately, we’ll get to where
the products are indistinguishable
from animal protein. And I’ve set an
internal goal that, within fve years,
we will have at least one product that
underprices animal protein.
The day of the IPO was terrifc. It did
not surprise me that, given the opportunity to buy into the company, people
wanted to. But it makes me uneasy.
Afterward, I talked to a friend, and he
was like, “Man, you’ve managed to feel
uneasy regardless of the news. This is
great!” It’s not the market’s reaction
that makes me uneasy. It’s that there’s
so much work to do, and there’s so
much urgency to it. How do we get it
done more quickly?
The rest will take care of itself. It’s up
to consumers, if they want to give us
30 percent of the market, or 100 percent, or 2 percent. I can’t control that.
The frst doubters were tons of people who didn’t believe the vision, who
were like, “It’s bizarre,” or, “It’s gross.”
(I’d be like, “Have you ever seen how
a piece of meat is made?”) Or people
who wouldn’t support us, including
investors we spent a lot of time wooing
who didn’t invest. There’s a long line of
those, and they probably want to stay
Now there are a lot of people who are
actively betting against us, by shorting
the stock. I love these people. Be my
guest. Go for it.
It just fuels us.
EAT ’EM AND SMILE
Ethan Brown, co-founder and
CEO of Beyond Meat, blocking out
the d in Nasdaq, on May 2.
That day, Beyond Meat’s IPO
debuted, and closed 163 percent
above its opening price.