What happened

Shares of plant-based meat-alternative producer Beyond Meat (NASDAQ:BYND) are down 22% Tuesday, as of 10:35 a.m. EST. The company has had a busy 24 hours that included its third-quarter earnings announcement, a new deal with Pizza Hut, and some confusion related to McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) upcoming plant-based offerings. 

So what

Beyond Meat reported a surprise loss of $19 million for its third quarter, with net sales increasing only 2.7% versus the year-ago period. The company said the poor performance was the result of the impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic that it hadn't yet felt in previous quarters. 

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Image source: Getty Images.

Beyond Meat president and CEO Ethan Brown said in the earnings release that retail consumer stockpiling has slowed, and foodservice businesses continue to struggle, leading to results "that were lower than we expected."

Now what

On Monday, McDonald's announced a new McPlant plant-based food line that caused some confusion for those who follow Beyond Meat regarding whether it would be a supplier to the fast-food giant, or possibly a competitor. 

On the company's earnings conference call, Brown said management couldn't "specify or speak for McDonald's as to how we interplay with McPlant Burger," leaving analysts questioning what role, if any, Beyond Meat is playing in the new rollout. J.P. Morgan analyst Ken Goldman told Brown he thought the opacity on the subject is "spooking people a little bit." Brown would only comment that Beyond Meat and McDonald's have a "very long-term relationship." 

Separately, the company today announced a new partnership with Pizza Hut with Beyond's plant-based Italian sausage alternative. Over all, investors who have seen the stock grow quickly over most of the past year are happy to take profits today.

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