- Meati Foods eliminated 60 roles, or 10% of its staff, earlier in the month as part of a “structural reorganization,” a decision that affected nearly every part of the organization, a company spokesperson told sister publication Food Dive.
- Meati said the layoffs were necessary to focus on profitability and not a testament to the growth the company has seen for its products. “Meati is a young, disruptive company navigating uncharted territory... each of these factors requires us to regularly evaluate every aspect of our operations,” the person said.
- The staff reduction comes as the alternative protein maker launched an online shop to expand its national footprint and help it achieve its goal of becoming the U.S. market leader in plant-based meat by 2025.
So far, Meati appears to be on more stable footing than some of its competitors.
Earlier this month, Hooray Foods and Nowadays, two San Francisco-based meat alternative startups, took to social media to announce they were ending production and going out of business. Hooray said on social media that “the economics of running a company of this size simply do not match our revenue.”
These recent closures, coupled with the job cuts at Meati, come amid a challenging time across the plant-based space. During the last year, JBS USA shuttered its Planterra plant-based business, and Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods and Maple Leaf Foods’ Greenleaf Foods all cut employees.
Still, Meati is forging ahead. Now that the Colorado-based fermented meat company has rapidly expanded its footprint, it’s learning and adjusting to the demands of its community.
Before its move to retail in March, Meati did a “very light direct-to-consumer launch in 2022” that resulted in its products selling out quickly. The company’s decision to reopen its DTC business was in response to changing demands from customers, Christina Ra, vice president of marketing and communications of Meati, told Food Dive.
The company also is debuting a paid subscription option called Innovation Kitchen that is available for $169 a month. It delivers customers four of Meati’s current products alongside at least one new item for them to review.
“We have a really wonderful community that really wants to engage, and a lot of people would prefer to order directly from us because their closest Whole Foods is say, 20 minutes away,” said Ra.
With the launch of Meati Marketplace, and the paid subscription option of Innovation Kitchen, the company is hoping to receive feedback on seasonings, texture and other characteristics that can be used to help it improve its products.
Plant-based sales have declined recently, with inflationary pressures forcing consumers to curtail their spending. The category also has been hit by an oversupply of product and skepticism over the taste of products in the marketplace.
Meati is hoping the new marketplace will address these issues by creating a community and allowing consumers to engage with the company on issues like flavors and textures of new products.
“There’s a lot coming down the pipe,” said Ra.“The launch is an addition to our plans to continue retail expansion.”
Big players in the space also have utilized DTC models in a bid to make their products available to more people. In 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Beyond Meat offered delivery of its plant-based meat products. Impossible Foods also launched a DTC buying option that same year. Both companies have since shut down these efforts.