What happened

Shares of Beyond Meat (NASDAQ:BYND) declined by 4.3% on Tuesday after Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) announced that it would sell food made by a rival meat alternatives company. 

So what

Starbucks will now offer the Impossible Breakfast Sandwich as part of its new summer menu at its roughly 15,000 U.S. stores. The sandwiches include plant-based sausage patties made by Impossible Foods, one of Beyond Meat's major competitors.

The Impossible Breakfast Sandwich.

Starbucks' new Impossible Breakfast Sandwich looks tasty. Image source: Starbucks.

"Over the years, in response to customer interest, we have added plant-based milk alternatives such as soy, coconut, almond, and oat milk," Starbucks' Chief Sustainability Officer Michael Kobori said in a press release. "We are thrilled to expand our plant-based menu into food with this new breakfast sandwich." 

Now what

Plant-based food is a potentially massive market. Beyond Meat is in the process of building a popular brand within the rapidly expanding industry, and it's done an excellent job of growing its sales and building out its distribution platform. This includes striking a major deal with Starbucks in April to sell its plant-based products in the coffee titan's stores in China. 

Yet while Beyond Meat is certainly off to a strong start, competition is becoming fiercer. Thus, it won't be easy for Beyond Meat to maintain its leadership position in this hotly contested market -- and there can currently be no assurances that it will.