What happened

Shares of Beyond Meat (BYND 0.16%) were falling by 5.4% at 10:55 a.m. ET on Tuesday morning on no company-specific news, though The New York Times did publish an article today questioning whether the company's falling sales were due to inflationary pressures or because it has reached peak saturation. 

The article said while many consumers had been switching from high-cost plant-based meat alternatives to lower-cost real meat, some analysts believe it has reached about all the consumers it can and was at a plateau.

So what

According to a consumer survey by Deloitte, as reported by the Times, it seems doubtful the 53% of consumers who have not or will not try plant-based alternatives could ever be converted into customers.

Deloitte's head of U.S. consumer products research, Justin Cook, said, "The category had been growing at double-digit for a long time and was expected to continue, but what we saw this year is that the number of consumers who were buying it did not increase."

Another problem is that plant-based meat alternatives have suffered a drop in perception as a healthier option to real meat.

It's not just Beyond Meat that's seeing slower sales, according to the article, as meat processor JBS closed two plants and cereal maker Kellogg saw its meat-alternative division Morningstar Farm suffer an across-the-board decline in sales.

Privately held Impossible Foods, on the other hand, has reportedly had record growth.

Now what

Beyond Meat has seen its stock collapse 85% as its sales have plunged, forcing it to drop hundreds of workers from its payroll. As well as consumers rejecting its product, distributors and retailers weren't ordering more of it, either.

It's now expected that Beyond Meat will see its first year-over-year decline in full-year sales.