What happened

Shares of Beyond Meat (NASDAQ:BYND) soared more than 50% in value last month, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence, following the plant-based food company's first-quarter results.

So what

Beyond Meat's revenue surged 215% year over year, to $40.2 million, while its gross profit leapt 424%, to $10.8 million. The gains were fueled by a rapid expansion in the number of restaurants and grocery stores selling its products.

A person pointing to an upwardly sloping chart.

Beyond Meat is enjoying rapid sales growth. Image source: Getty Images.

"We are very pleased with our successful IPO during the month of May and our strong first quarter financial results that we believe demonstrate mainstream consumers' desire for plant-based meat products in the United States and internationally," CEO Ethan Brown said. "Our team continued to scale our business in both retail and foodservice as we benefited from broad-based growth in the first quarter."

Now what

Beyond Meat is not yet profitable; it generated a net loss of $6.6 million, or $0.95 per share, in the first quarter. But this is to be expected, as the freshly public company is investing aggressively in its growth initiatives.

"Looking ahead, we believe we are in the early stages of achieving the growth that Beyond Meat is capable of as we remain focused on efforts to increase brand awareness, expand our distribution channels, launch additional innovative products, and invest in our infrastructure and capacity to be able to serve a robust global market for plant-based meats," Brown said.

Beyond Meat believes that plant-based "meat" could eventually become a $270 billion industry. If it's correct, then it's making the right decision to focus on expanding its share of this potentially massive market at the expense of near-term profits.