Shares of alt-protein purveyor Beyond Meat (NASDAQ:BYND) have trounced the market so far this year, yet one analyst believes they still have plenty of upside. On Thursday, Baird analyst Ben Kallo initiated rather glowing coverage on the stock, with an outperform (i.e., buy) recommendation at a price target of $160 per share.

Kallo believes that Beyond Meat has several avenues to revenue growth, specifically "increasing distribution (domestically and internationally), increasing velocity per point of distribution, and introduction of new products," as he wrote in a research note.

A Beyond Burger package at a supermarket.

Image source: Getty Images.

In his opinion, the potential market is vast for the company's expanding line of plant-derived imitation meats. The prognosticator thus believes that at the end of this year, Beyond Meat will have sufficient manufacturing capacity to earn over $1 billion in revenue. Its total for 2019 was just under $300 million.

Beyond Meat certainly has momentum at its back. Since its May 2019 initial public offering (IPO), the company has secured an impressive number of distribution deals, both in the retail sphere at major supermarket chains and in the restaurant segment. Late last month, the company launched a direct-to-consumer e-commerce site that sells in bulk, opening yet another channel to move its almost-tastes-like-the-real-thing products.

The company has some big challenges in front of it. Prominent among these is competition, with some rather powerful and long-established food industry peers diving into the vegan protein segment. It's very possible to find the Impossible Burger on restaurant menus, for example, as The Impossible Company, which is privately held, has also made great strides in its business.

Still, investors welcomed Baird's bullishness. Beyond Meat's share price rose marginally on the day, in contrast to the notable decline of the wider equities market.

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.