Beyond Meat moves into meat-free mince

The company’s latest product came out of its new innovation centre and is different to its burger patty.

7 March 2019
meat alternativeNPDplant-basedvegan

Beyond Meat has already beaten burgers into plant-based patties. Now, it’s making minced meat of ground beef.

Beyond Beef is a plant-based product that “has all of the meaty taste, juicy texture, and versatility consumers expect with ground beef,” according to the company, which has devised a recipe of pea, mung bean and rice proteins to mimic the texture of the real deal.

The product has been tested in a range of recipes,from tacos and dumplings, to bolognese and sliders.

Along with the flexibility of the product, it also comes with showy health credentials: it has 25% less saturated fat than beef – less than 6g per serving – and more protein, with a single serving delivering 20g.

The plant pioneers are looking to take a bigger bite out of the multi-trillion-dollar meat industry, with minced beef the largest segment in the beef category in the US.

“We’ve long had our eye on creating a versatile product that enables consumers to enjoy all the benefits and versatility of ground beef while tapping into the human health, environmental and animal welfare benefits of plant-based foods,” said Beyond Meat founder and CEO Ethan Brown.

“As is our commitment, we’ve built this latest addition to our family of plant-based meats while being thoughtful about ingredient choices that support everyday use by the whole family, including strict avoidance of GMOs, soy or gluten.”

Beyond Beef will be released into grocery and restaurants by the end of the year. It will sit in the cold aisle in retail, rather than frozen.

But Beyond Meat isn’t the first to make minced beef into a plant alternative. In the UK, Sainsbury’s has been filling this category with The Meatless Farm Co’s pea-based mince. The supermarket also trialled an alternative from Danish manufacturer Naturli’ Foods.

Nestlé introduced a plant-based mince as part of its Garden Gourmet brand, while Iceland ground up its No Bull burger last year.

A blank canvas with more to come

So what’s the difference between Beyond Meat’s minced beef and the burger patty?

Beyond Beef has a more neutral flavour and aroma than the Beyond Burger, making it a blank canvas for any seasoning or dish, said the brand, adding:“It also has a unique binding system that provides for the culinary versatility expected with ground beef, allowing it to perform in a variety of dishes.”

Fifty million burgers have been sold by Beyond Meat since launching in 2016. It has also launched bangers based on brat-style pork sausages created from pea, fava and rice proteins, sold in original or hot Italian flavour. Beyond Sausage boasts 38% less saturated fat and 43% less total fat than the meat options, said the company.

Overall, Beyond Meat’ sproducts are available at 35,000 locations around the world. The business has also constructed a 26,000 sq ft R&D lab in California dedicated to diversifying the product portfolio. This facility is where the mince was created, though it has since moved onto the next project: steak.

“Going forward, we intend to continue to invest in innovation, supply chain capabilities, manufacturing and marketing initiatives, as we believe the demand for our products will continue to accelerate across both retail and foodservice channels as well as internationally,” the company said.

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