Just days after confirming that it sold its stake in Beyond Meat, Tyson Foods Inc. of Springdale said it would launch its own meatless protein products this summer.
In a quarterly earnings call with analysts on Monday, CEO Noel White said the publicly traded meat producer (NYSE: TSN) would launch a meatless product on a limited basis this summer, with a wider rollout in the fall.
"We're well positioned to capture growth in this space," White said. "We have a deep understanding of how to develop new products, brands and categories, and our distribution reach will allow us to move quickly into the marketplace."
Arkansas Business reported April 24 that Tyson Foods' venture capital arm, Tyson Ventures, had sold its stake in Beyond Meat, a company that produces plant-based proteins for use in products like meatless hamburgers. Other investors in the startup included The Humane Society of the United States, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Kleiner Perkins.
Tyson had invested about $23 million in the company. It purchased a 5 percent stake for $15 million in 2016, then added another 1.5 percent stake later that year for about $8 million.
In a statement, Tyson Foods said it was pleased with its investment and "the time is right to exit."
"Beyond Meat provided an early opportunity for Tyson Ventures to invest in plant-based protein products that many consumers are seeking. We wish the leadership of Beyond Meat all the best," the company said.
Tyson Foods sold its stake ahead of Beyond Meat's initial public offering last week. On Tuesday, the company (Nasdaq: BYND) was trading up more than 5 percent to $79.50 per share, with a market capitalization of more than $4.5 billion.
Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown has his eye on competitors like Tyson Foods. In an interview with CNBC, he said the company is trying to capture the meat industry's customers.
"We really don't focus on the plant-based meat sector as much as we focus on the meat sector itself," Brown told the network. "That’s a $1.4 trillion industry with just incredible diversity and potential globally."