Beyond Meat is a Los Angeles-based producer of plant-based meat substitutes founded in 2009 by Ethan Brown. The company's initial products were launched in the United States in 2012. The company has products designed to emulate chicken, beef, and pork sausage.
The company's first product launched in 2012 was designed to emulate chicken and sold frozen. The product was licensed from Harold Huff and Fu-Hung Hsieh at the University of Missouri. They were made from "soy powder, gluten-free flour, carrot fiber and other ingredients" which were mixed and fed into a food extrusion machine that cooks the mixture while forcing it through a specially designed mechanism that uses steam, pressure, and cold water to form the product's chicken-like texture. The product was praised by some celebrities, but journalists who tasted it said the "likeness to real chicken was tolerable, at best" and it was discontinued in 2019.
The company announced in 2014 that it had begun development of a new product to emulate beef burgers, which was released in February 2015.
The burgers are made from pea protein isolates, rice protein, mung bean protein, canola oil, coconut oil, potato starch, apple extract, sunflower lecithin, and pomegranate powder. Beef products that "bleed" are achieved by using red beet juice. The products are certified as not containing genetically modified ingredients. The number of ingredients and processes involved in producing the products means that they are classified as ultra-processed foods in the NOVA food classification scheme. As of 2019 their products cost more than twice that of meat. One burger patty contains 1,100 kilojoules (270 kilocalories) of food energy, twenty grams of protein, twenty grams of fat (of which five grams is saturated fat) and one gram of salt. The protein and fat content are similar to a beef patty of a similar weight, but the salt content is "much higher". Nutrition of the burger varies according to the restaurant chain in which it is served.
Beyond Sausage, raw (above) and cooked (below)
In December 2017, the company announced a vegan alternative to pork sausage called "Beyond Sausage". The three varieties of "sausage" were called Bratwurst, Hot Italian, and Sweet Italian.
In September 2018, Beyond Meat received a Champions of the Earth award from the United Nations. This sought to recognize the company’s sustainability efforts beyond the product such as swapping plastic packaging trays to compostable tray for use in their Beyond Sausage.