What happened

Shares of Beyond Meat (NASDAQ:BYND) were climbing today after Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) said it was interested in serving more plant-based products.

Though the java giant didn't specifically name Beyond Meat, investors nonetheless took it as a bullish signal for the purveyor of fake meats. Beyond Meat shares were up 16% as of 12:39 p.m. EDT.

A selection of Beyond Meat products

Image source: Beyond Meat.

So what

In a letter to stakeholders this morning, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson outlined several environmental sustainability goals for the next decade. Principally, the company is aiming to become resource-positive -- meaning it eliminates waste, stores more carbon than it emits, and provides more clean freshwater than it uses.

Among the initiatives it's focusing on to achieve that goal is to "expand plant-based options, migrating toward a more environmentally friendly menu."

Starbucks did not say when it would add more "plant-based" options to the menu, and did not even specifically identify plant-based "meats" as among them, though that is how the news was interpreted. While Starbucks' statement seems to add to the broader tailwind supporting Beyond Meat and the booming plant-based meat industry, it doesn't directly impact the stock yet, especially as Beyond Meat has several competitors including Impossible Foods.

Separately, there were also reports from a Chinese news site saying that Beyond Meat would be expanding to China in the first quarter, though those reports have not been confirmed by an American news outlet.

Now what

Beyond Meat shares have been incredibly volatile since their initial public offering at $45 last May; the stock surged to $240 a share last July before crashing to below $75. Along the way, short-sellers and traders have piled into the stock to take advantage of the volatility, which has only exaggerated its up-and-down movements.

That seems to be the main reason the stock is surging today, as this news doesn't deserve more than a couple of points of gain in the stock. Momentum -- and day traders -- seem to be what's really pushing it higher. Beyond Meat shares are now up nearly 60% since the beginning of the year, but long-term investors should ignore today's news until more details come out on a potential tie-up with Starbucks.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.