Plant-based food company Beyond Meat has partnered with several high-profile fast food chains to expand its product range, The Independent reported on 25 February.

The company announced distribution agreements on 25 February with McDonald’s and with Yum! Brands, the parent company of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut.

California-based Beyond Meat said it would develop plant-based products for all the outlets with exclusive menu items for each brand, such as pizza toppings or plant-based burgers.

Beyond Meat’s CEO Ethan Brown had called the deals a “tipping point” in terms of plant-based meat’s prominence, FoodIngredientsFirst reported.

The global rise in consumer demand for plant-based foods is also opening up new markets for oils and fats which are used to add flavour, moisture and texture to new meat alternatives.

The agreements were an expansion of Beyond Meat’s earlier limited partnerships with McDonald’s and Yum! Brands, The Independent said, when a number of its products had been tested in limited locations.

Chicago-based McDonald's will use the Beyond Meat partnership to launch its McPlant burger, as well as exploring the co-development of plant-based pork, egg and chicken products in the future.

“Entering into this strategic agreement is an important step on our journey to bring delicious, high quality, plant-based menu items to our customers,” said Francesca DeBiase, McDonald’s executive vice president and chief supply chain officer.

Yum will use the Beyond Meat partnership to expand its Beyond Fried Chicken products, as well as pizza toppings at Pizza Hut. Yum, which is based in Louisville, Kentucky, had not laid out specific menu options for Taco Bell, The Independent wrote.

A number of other fast food chains were also experimenting with new plant-based products, The Independent said, including Burger King which had partnered with another plant-based food company Impossible Foods.

Meanwhile, Beyond Meat posted a larger-than-expected quarterly loss, partly due to weakened restaurant sales because of COVID-19’s impact on the foodservice sector, FoodIngredientsFirst reported.

Beyond Meat’s net revenues were US$101.9M, a year-on-year increase of 3.5%. However, the net loss was US$25.1M.

The adjusted net loss was US$21.4M, FoodIngredientsFirst said, reflecting the exclusion of expenses attributable to COVID-19.

As of 31 December 2020, Beyond Meat had products available at approximately 122,000 retail and foodservice outlets in over 80 countries worldwide.