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Why Beyond Meat Stock Plummeted by Almost 6% Today

By Eric Volkman – Dec 20, 2021 at 7:03PM

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Investors were very unimpressed with the company's announcement of a new R&D center overseas.

What happened

The bear market spared few stocks on Monday. One of the companies particularly gored by the angry animal was Beyond Meat (BYND 6.41%). The alt-protein specialist saw its shares decline by 5.7% during the course of the day, following the announcement of a new company facility in Asia.

So what

On Monday, Beyond Meat said that it has secured a lease for a new research and development (R&D) center in Shanghai.

Woman seated at a table and covering her mouth.

Image source: Getty Images.

"The new R&D center will be equipped with state-of-the-art technology and cutting-edge lab facilities, including a pilot lab and sensory testing capabilities, that will allow Beyond Meat to create and iterate its products while bringing them even more quickly to market," the company wrote in the press release touting the new complex. It added that the move is part of its wider expansion into markets outside of its native U.S.

China, with its still-growing economy and potentially massive customer base, is a particularly juicy target. Its consumers have embraced other top names in the U.S. food and beverage sectors; particular success stories in that market include Starbucks and Yum! Brands spinoff Yum China Holdings (YUMC -3.37%).

In its press release, Beyond Meat did not specify how much it is paying for the lease...or any other costs of what's likely to be a costly facility to establish and staff. The R&D center should open in the first half of 2022, according to the company.

Now what

Building an R&D presence abroad, especially in China, is certainly a worthwhile endeavor.

But investors might not think this should be any kind of a priority for Beyond Meat just now. The company's growth is sluggish, profitability remains elusive, and the alt-protein segment has relatively low barriers to entry (and thus has growing competition). Shareholders could be concerned that the company isn't sufficiently addressing these challenges.

Eric Volkman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns and recommends Beyond Meat, Inc. and Starbucks. The Motley Fool recommends the following options: short January 2022 $115 calls on Starbucks. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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