AUTHOR Cathy Siegner
PUBLISHED June 3, 2019
Before the Butcher is introducing three plant-based burgers and meatless breakfast sausages in retail outlets this summer, according to Food Navigator. The company said the products, which debuted in foodservice last year, will be available in the meat departments of three of the country’s largest grocery stores by the end of August, but it did not name them.
The lineup will be introduced under the Uncut brand and contain non-GMO soy protein concentrate, isolated soy protein and soy flour, among other ingredients. Uncut’s beefless burgers, roasted turkey burgers and savory chicken burgers will be priced 8% to 10% below the Beyond Burger, Food Navigator reported.
The products will have less than half the sodium of the Beyond Burger and the Impossible Burger.
“We tested all kinds of plant-based proteins, including pea, but we didn’t want gluten [which ruled out wheat] and soy delivered the best bite, chew and texture. It’s also a complete protein,” Danny O’Malley, Beyond the Butcher’s founder and president, told the publication.
Before the Butcher is entering a very competitive space with its plant-based burgers and other meatless products. The alternative meat sector continues to expand, with more than $16 billion invested into the U.S. plant-based and cell-based meat companies in the past 10 years. But since the company’s founder and president spent about three years as a regional sales manager for Beyond Meat, he probably has a good idea of what needs to be done to achieve retail success.
O’Malley told Food Navigator the Uncut lineup will offer something not all competitors do — complete protein, less sodium, an appealing taste and texture and smaller packages. The packaging also is two-thirds as wide as Beyond Burger’s, so retailers can place three of them in the same space. Those factors could give the company an advantage in the competitive space, but it will have to fight for name recognition. After launching its products in the foodservice channel last year, Before the Butcher now has clients in restaurants, colleges, universities and stadiums.
It will be interesting to see which large grocery chains will carry the Uncut brand this summer as thousands already carry the Beyond Burger and other Big Food companies will soon be entering the space with their own offerings. As a startup, Before the Butcher will need to do more to differentiate itself when faced with such stiff competition such as the well-established Beyond Burger and Impossible Burger, plus plant-based burgers from Lightlife Foods.
Consumers could end up deciding which plant-based burger to buy based on taste and the type of ingredients that are included. Tyson Foods is launching meatless products this summer, and Nestlé plans to roll out its plant-based Awesome Burger as part of the Sweet Earth line this fall.
There could even be some private-label competitors emerging into the mix. Should a price war develop, consumers may be the beneficiaries of both increased options and lower prices. Impossible Foods, which has predominately focused on restaurants, is planning to launch its burger in retail outlets later this year, with the company talking with large grocery chains.
Before the Butcher might also need to scale up sufficiently to avoid the shortages Impossible Burger ran into after its partnerships with Burger King, White Castle and Red Robin. If the company can skillfully navigate such potential minefields, the Uncut brand lineup may be able to offer something new and different in a popular and increasingly crowded category.
A-F CHEF Notes: I’m looking forward to trying these UNCUT animal substitutes. They’ve got an impressive line-up.