What happened

Shares of Beyond Meat (BYND 0.15%), the leading maker of plant-based meat substitutes, fell 12% in September, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. This decline was likely due to continued downward pressure from second-quarter earnings and third-quarter revenue guidance falling short of Wall Street's expectations, as well as broader market dynamics, as last month was a tough month for growth stocks.

For context, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq indexes fell 4.8% and 5.3%, respectively, in September.

In 2020, Beyond Meat stock surged 65.3% (compared to the S&P 500's 18.4% return), thanks largely to consumers stocking up on frozen foods during the early stages of the pandemic. But 2021 (through Oct. 1) hasn't been as kind to shareholders, with the stock down 16.1%, while the broader market has returned 17.3%.

Two Beyond Burgers with cheese, a white sauce, greens, and onions in buns.

Image source: Beyond Meat.

So what

Beyond Meat has missed Wall Street's earnings estimates in the last four consecutive quarters. On the positive side, last quarter (Q2 2021) the company did end its string of missing analysts' revenue expectations. It's possible Wall Street's expectations have been too high in light of the pandemic, which has hurt the company's food-service business. Nonetheless, the market usually places importance on the Street's estimates, so missing recent expectations has been exerting downward pressure on the stock. 

In the second quarter of 2021, Beyond Meat's revenue rose 32% year over year to $149.4 million. That result beat the $142.6 million analysts had expected, and fell at the high end of the company's guidance range of $135 million to $150 million. Growth was mainly driven by the food-service business, which got a big boost from the broad reopening of the U.S. economy and other countries' economies.

Adjusted for one-time items, the company's net loss was $19.7 million, or $0.31 per share, compared to a net loss of $1.2 million, or $0.02 per share, in the year-ago period. This adjusted net loss was larger than the $0.23 per-share loss Wall Street had been expecting.

BYND Chart

Data by YCharts.

Now what

For the third quarter, management guided for sales growth of 27% to 48% year over year. Going into the release, Wall Street had been modeling for sales to increase 63% year over year.

That said, CEO Ethan Brown said in the earnings release that the company is being cautious with guidance due to the "recent uptick of COVID-19 cases, which could disrupt demand patterns."

Investors can proably expect the company to release its Q3 results in early or mid-November.