What happened 

Beyond Meat's (NASDAQ:BYND) stock price climbed on Monday after Citigroup analyst Wendy Nicholson lifted her rating on the meat alternatives company from sell to neutral and boosted her price forecast. As of 2:55 p.m. EDT, Beyond Meat's shares were up more than 4%.

So what

Nicholson's upgrade comes after a 10% decline in Beyond Meat's stock price following her sell call in July. Yet even as investors have become more concerned about intensifying competition from the likes of Impossible Foods and large packaged food companies, Nicholson's research shows that Beyond Meat's sales have continued to expand at rates above 60% in key retail channels. Moreover, she believes Beyond Meat's new e-commerce site can be a significant growth driver for the company. Nicholson, in turn, raised her price forecast for Beyond Meat's stock from $123 to $141.

Sculptures of a bull and a bear are facing each other.

The bears are becoming more bullish on Beyond Meat's stock, though not quite bullish enough to recommend the stock. Image source: Getty Images.

Still, Nicholson remains uneasy about Beyond Meat's profit margins, as well as its stock's rich valuation. "While we are less negative today on BYND than we were at the time of our launch of coverage, we are still not ready to recommend the shares with a buy rating," she said in a research note to investors. 

Now what

When bears become less bearish, it's usually a good sign that a stock could be about to head higher. And if Beyond Meat can continue to grow at a brisk pace despite rising competition, it's a signal that skeptics may be underestimating the power of its brand. It can also be a sign that the market for plant-based food is large enough to support multiple winners -- of which Beyond Meat could be the biggest.

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.