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The Street
The Street
Colette Bennett

Could a Giant Player Take Beyond Meat's Market?

There's always an element of repressed denial about enjoying a good hot dog. We all know they're made of terrible stuff that no one would eat if we saw the individual parts on our plates (and if you really want to know the gory details, be warned that you may be haunted in a way that will ruin you for life). 

But of course, there's something delightfully American about them that imparts the euphoria of an outdoor game in a stadium on a beautiful sunny day, and we just can't resist the siren song of the hot dog vendor and his crisp little paper hat. And down the gullet they go.

At least, that was the case until plant-based substitutes for our beloved baseball treat started to make major headway into the food market a few years ago, transforming the meat-based food world as we know it. Beyond Meat (BYND) now offers a Chicago Dog recipe using its sausage products, and you can find a rainbow of other brands offering similar items at your local Whole Foods. In other words, the days of eating mechanically separated chicken squeezed into the shape of a sausage can be forgotten if you so desire.

All ketchup hot dogs.


Heinz Wants to Eat Beyond Meat's Lunch

Now the big daddy of hot dogs is ready to step into the ring. The Kraft Heinz Company (KHC) has partnered with Chilean start-up TheNotCompany (NotCo), which currently offers plant-based egg, milk, and meat products. The new venture will be co-branded as The Kraft Heinz Not Company and headquartered in Chicago, with the task of bringing its plant-based innovation to multiple Kraft Heinz product categories.

“The joint venture with TheNotCompany is a critical step in the transformation of our product portfolio and a tremendous addition to our brand design-to-value capabilities,” said Miguel Patricio, CEO of Kraft Heinz. “It helps deliver on our vision to offer more clean, green, and delicious products for consumers. We believe the technology that NotCo brings is revolutionizing the creation of delicious plant-based foods with simpler ingredients.”

Also notable is that Kraft chose to bring NotCo CEO Lucho Lopez-May over to become CEO of The Kraft Heinz Not Company. In a business landscape where startups are so often bought in their entirety, Kraft's move to keep NotCo's vision at the forefront of the business is a savvy one.

Can Kraft Heinz Take on Beyond Meat?

It's a good time for Kraft Heinz to expand into the plant-based market, especially after its strong fourth-quarter earnings in 2021. But Beyond Meat's foothold is a strong one. It has established deals with McDonald's (MCD), PepsiCo (PEP), and YUM! Brands (YUM) meaning that it's just about everywhere consumers buy food.

The move is a part of a bigger initiative to revamp the Kraft and Oscar Mayer brands on the whole, which was put in motion last year with the announcement of its Keep it Oscar campaign. The partnership with creative agency Johannes Leonardo introduced a pop-art flavor to the 139-year-old brand in hopes of drawing the attention of younger consumers.

So, your bologna may have a first name, but it may not actually be made from an animal anymore (though to be fair, nobody was ever entirely sure what was in bologna in the first place).

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