Beyond Meat Looks to Make a Comeback With Some Major Changes

By: Lauren Fokas | Published: Mar 03, 2024

The number of people following a vegan or vegetarian diet has significantly increased over the past decade, and consequently, so has the amount of plant-based food products in stores and restaurants. 

Plant-based meat products, such as burgers, became wildly more popular in the past few years until it became clear they’re not nearly as healthy as people thought they were. But one popular company, Beyond Meat, has decided to change its recipe to a healthier version to get vegetarians and vegans back on board. 

The Vegan Movement

The vegetarian and vegan diets have been around for decades. However, they were really only popular among specific groups of animal rights activists and spiritual groups.

Man holding a cardboard sign at a rally that reads “Save the planet go vegan”

Source: iStock

But in the past decade, hundreds of thousands of Americans and people from around the world decided to replace their carnivorous diets and choose a plant-based regimen instead. 

Why Did So Many People Go Vegan?

There are essentially three reasons why the vegan movement has become more popular than ever before in the past few years: personal health, animal rights, and environmental sustainability. 

Several cows stand in a field of flowers

Source: Freepik

Some people now believe that eating a plant-based diet is far better for the physical body than eating meat and dairy products. Others say they cannot eat meat or dairy in good conscience because of the inhumane way in which animals are treated on factory farms. But the majority of vegans chose their new diet as it became apparent it was the most sustainable diet and would, therefore, help save the planet from climate change.

Companies Capitalized on the New Diet Trend

As it became clear that people around the world were cutting down or completely eliminating meat from their diet, many companies took advantage of the changing trend and began making and promoting dozens of plant-based meat alternatives.

Several options for plant-based meat on grocery store shelves

Source: @vegan/X

While many of these companies did exceptionally well, one called Beyond Meat did exceptionally well for itself. 

Beyond Meat Made an Incredible $406.8 Million in Net Revenue in 2020

In 2020, Beyond Meat recorded a 36.6% increase in net revenue from 2019, reaching a whopping $406.8 million.

Woman smiling as she eats a to-go burger

Source: Freepik

But, unfortunately for the company, the uptick in sales didn’t last long. By 2022, net sales had decreased by an almost unbelievable 20.6% from the year before. 

Why Did Beyond Meat’s Sales Plummet?

While the intense increase in profits for companies like Beyond Meat was based on changing diet trends, the plummeting sales had nothing to do with a return to a carnivorous diet. Instead, it was completely based on the consumers’ distrust of the product. 

Beyond Meat burger patties in their packaging

Source: Beyond Burger

Essentially, people stopped buying Beyond Meat because it became widely known that these plant-based faux-meat products were actually extremely unhealthy.


Plant-Based Meats Were Chock Full of Sodium and Chemicals

Nutritionists began publishing study after study that showed plant-based meats were absolutely full of preservatives and questionable chemicals, such as artificial coloring, controversial additives, and even excess sugar. 

Scientists studying food in a lab

Source: Freepik

They also noted that plant-based meats contained far more sodium than real meat and, in some cases, had up to 6 times the amount of salt in a side-by-side comparison.


Beyond Meat Had to Do Something

Since the world essentially stopped buying faux meats after the studies explaining just how unhealthy these products were released, companies like Beyond Meat started seriously struggling to stay above water. 

Bag of Beyond Meat hamburgers at a grocery store

Source: @BeyondMeat/Facebook

Now, Beyond Meat just announced that they have been working tirelessly to create a much healthier product, and finally, it’s hitting the shelves.


What Are the Differences Between the Old and New Beyond Burger?

According to Beyond’s CEO Ethan Brown, the new Beyond Meat Burger is a great deal healthier than its predecessor. He told CNBC, “The Beyond IV represents a leap forward, versus an incremental step.”

Screenshot from Beyond Meat showing the ingredients of their plant-based burger

Source: Beyond Burger/Shutterstock

The new burger has several new additions to the ingredient list, such as red lentils and fava bean protein. More importantly, however, are the ingredients they removed. 


Decreasing Saturated Fats by 60%

One exceptional change in the Beyond Meat burger recipe is that they will no longer be using seed oils such as canola oil. Instead, the burger is made with avocado oil.

Avocados and avocado oil on a chopping board

Source: Freepik

While it may seem like a small change, and it certainly won’t affect the flavor, the change in oil actually reduced the amount of saturated fat in one burger by an almost unbelievable 60%.


New Beyond Burgers Have 20% Less Sodium

Additionally, the new recipe contains 20% less sodium than the previous burger, which, of course, makes a huge difference in the burger’s health benefits. 

Pile and spoonful of salt on a wooden table

Source: Freepik

Before, a Beyond Burger patty contained 170 mg of sodium or 8.5% of the daily recommended intake, whereas the new burger only has 136 mg or 6.8% of standard daily consumption. 


Eating Whole Food Is the Best Possible Diet

These days, it feels as though there is a constant flow of contradicting information regarding health and diet being spread around the internet. Some say plant-based diets are absolutely the right answer, while others say a carnivorous diet is far better for the body.

Table full of whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, legumes, and beans

Source: Freepik

However, the vast majority of doctors have said it’s far more important to eat a well-balanced diet of whole foods with minimally processed foods than choosing between plants or meat. Doctors still want their patients to understand that while Beyond Burgers are healthier than ever, they’re still processed, so they shouldn’t be the main source of nutrition in any diet.