Tyson Foods buys stake in plant-based protein producer Beyond Meat

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Tyson Foods Inc. has acquired 5 percent of plant-based protein producer Beyond Meat.

The Springdale-based company announced the deal Monday (Oct. 10). Beyond Meat is a privately-held company based in El Segundo, California, and is the only plant-based protein producer in which Tyson Foods has invested.

“We’re enthusiastic about this investment, which gives us exposure to a fast-growing segment of the protein market,” Monica McGurk, executive vice president of strategy and new ventures and president of foodservice for Tyson, said in a news release. “It meets our desire to offer consumers choices and to consider how we can serve an ever-growing and diverse global population, while remaining focused on our core prepared foods and animal protein businesses.”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but money from the investment will help Beyond Meat expand the number of its products and distribution, according to a news release. The company, led by founder and CEO Ethan Brown, will remain independent and privately owned.

“This investment by Tyson Foods underscores the growing market for plant protein,” said Brown in the release. “I’m pleased to welcome Tyson as an investor and look forward to leveraging this support to broaden availability of plant protein choices to consumers.”

Tyson’s investment was provided through a Beyond Meat fundraiser. In this and other fundraisers, the company has also received money from investors such as The Humane Society of the United States, Bill Gates and venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins.

Beyond Meat products are available in 11,000 stores nationwide.