Plant-based meat provider Beyond Meat (BYND -0.48%) has soared during the pandemic thanks to a rising eat-at-home trend. The company is investing heavily in marketing and distribution in order to grab market share, but it's also spilling some red ink in the process. Below, Fool.com contributor Asit Sharma walks through a recent income statement to gain some perspective on Beyond Meat's losses.
A full transcript follows the video.
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Asit Sharma: This is the 12 months, ended December 31st, 2017, 2018 and 2019, and bear in mind, for most of this time the company was private. You're looking at a lot of private funding that came in and then some public money. But what amazing numbers; you see the scale of growth here.
As the company grew, obviously the cost of goods sold was jumping up. Pretty nice absolute jump in gross profit right here last year. This was a leap between a gross loss in its third year looking back to this little bit of gross profit to here, you started to see some scale last year. Likewise, research and development expenses, these are going to be going up for the foreseeable future, because the company is always experimenting with these pea protein isolates, so it can make all sorts of meat from patties and plant-based sausages.
They keep trying to improve the taste. I know I've already seen some comments about Beyond Meat versus Impossible. We'll get into that as well, because Impossible Foods is not publicly traded yet, but this has been the prime opportunity to invest in this space, in a public sense for the time being anyway.
You can also see a lot of selling expenses; overhead rising, loss from operations with all this growth, with revenue going from $32 million to almost $300 million. This is more than nine times in just two years, they actually were almost profitable on an operating basis last year. A little bit of debt on the books. We can see from this interest expense, this is a one-time item here.
These loss numbers aren't bad at all for a company that is in sheer growth mode, it's trying to capture as much of this market as it can. We will talk about competition because it's not just Impossible Foods that Beyond Meat is up against, it's up against the big Ag companies. The Sysco Foods of the world, it's not Cisco the tech company, but Sysco the food company and other big Ag that wants to be able to have the same type of products out in grocery stores.