May 3, 2019 - Economy

Beyond Meat's robust IPO launch

In this illustration, the Wall Street bull has a green cape.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Beyond Meat shares popped 163% yesterday on their first day of trading, marking the best IPO day performance since before the financial crisis.

The bull case: Beyond Meat rival Impossible Foods recently got onto Burger King's menu, and there is widespread speculation that Beyond Meat will strike a similar deal with McDonald's or Wendy's.

  • Former McDonald's CEO Don Thompson is on the Beyond Meat board, having invested through his VC firm Cleveland Avenue.
  • These products aren't just for vegetarians and vegans, with Impossible CFO David Lee telling me Monday that around 90% of his company's customers consider themselves to be carnivores.

The bear case: More than a dozen states are considering legislation that would make it illegal for companies to use the word "meat" to describe burgers or sausages that are made from plant-based materials or in labs.

  • This is the cattle ranchers lobby vs. the grocery lobby, and could present a particular challenge for a company with "meat" in its actual name.
  • There have been similar legal skirmishes over words like "egg" and "milk," with "chicken" most likely to follow as Tyson prepares to launch its own alternative protein product this summer.

Go deeper ... Scoop: Tyson Foods sells stake in Beyond Meat amid rising tensions

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