A long-awaited food marriage becomes official.
Beginning March 3, Starbucks’ more than 1,400 Canadian stores will feature the Beyond Meat, Cheddar and Egg Sandwich on its core menu offering.
“We're thrilled that Starbucks is introducing the Beyond Meat breakfast sandwich as a core menu item at all stores across Canada. The Beyond Breakfast Sausage patty is made using simple plant-based ingredients without GMOs. We believe the offering delivers on our promise of enabling consumers to Eat What You Love while also enjoying the nutritional and environmental benefits of plant-based protein. We greatly appreciate Starbucks' collaboration and shared vision around the launch,” Beyond Meat founder and CEO Ethan Brown told Yahoo Finance.
Earlier this month, Starbucks COO Rosalind (Roz) Brewer said the company would introduce a plant-based patty in both the U.S. and Canada this year. Promise delivered.
The coffee giant said its customers had asked for more alternative milks and plant-based options.
“The combination of those pairings is significant for us in terms of how we think about what the customer is asking for us to develop,” Brewer said on the fiscal first-quarter earnings call.
The move may also be part of Starbucks’ broader ambition to mitigate climate change. In a January letter, CEO Kevin Johnson outlined a number of action steps to be more sustainable, including expanding plant-based menu options and “migrating toward a more environmentally friendly menu.”
As for Beyond Meat, it’s yet another major fast food win in a series of high-profile deals to kick off 2020.
In January, Yum! Brands expanded a test of Beyond Meat’s plant-based fried chicken at KFC to Charlotte, North Carolina, Nashville, Tennessee and Kentucky. About 66 KFC restaurants now have the product. Denny’s also said last month it will roll out Beyond Meat’s products to 1,700 restaurants.
Not only do key deals such as this bring in money for Beyond Meat, but it sends a signal to the investors it could easily handle larger distribution deals from a production standpoint. And that could mean some surprisingly strong profits later this year and into 2021.
The only question for Beyond Meat: How does the launch of a very similar product at Starbucks impact the company’s relationship with Dunkin’ Brands. Maybe it doesn’t, but it’s worth watching moving forward given the importance of the relationship to both parties.
Keep in mind it was Dunkin’ that stepped up to the plate first last year and inked a deal for a Beyond Meat breakfast sandwich (it’s now served nationwide). Beyond Meat worked closely with Dunkin’ to specially formulate the plant-based sausage patty to make it taste similar to Dunkin’s peppery meat offering. In the process, Dunkin’ CEO Dave Hoffmann and Beyond Meat’s Brown have become quite tight.
As they would say on Twitter, #FastFoodDrama. It’s tough sometimes being so popular.
Julia La Roche is a Correspondent at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter. Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and co-anchor of The First Trade at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.