Beyond Meat is burning red hot since its market debut earlier this month.
The alternative-meat producer has roared 260% higher since its May 2 IPO, far better than other recent floats from Pinterest, Levi Strauss, Lyft and Uber.
Alexia Howard, senior research analyst at Bernstein, is one of the few to cover the stock and says the bullish case is clear in the consumer demand.
“These plant-based burgers that have come onto the market in the last couple of years, they’re really doing very well in the marketplace,” Howard told CNBC’s “Trading Nation” on Friday. “Products like Beyond Meat and the Beyond Burger have really made it to the forefront, coming in with a perishable product, a chilled fresh burger that is now in the meat section of the store, so they’re really targeting meat eaters here.”
Strong growth in this relatively new product also has parallels to the milk industry, meaning years of expansion by tapping an untapped market, Howard said.
“As almond milk and hazelnut milk and other nut milk came onto the market about a decade ago, we really started to see a major acceleration in the growth rate of that whole category,” Howard said. “It went from about 5% of the overall fluid milk market to about 15% today, and it’s still continuing to gain share.”
By that same logic, Howard said meat-alternative products could eat into the $270 billion U.S. meat market. She estimates that imitation products, which account for around $13 billion currently, could rise to $40 billion to $41 billion in the next 10 years.
Increased competition in the space could slow Beyond Meat’s growth, but Howard says the size of the total addressable market is large enough for multiple producers to flourish.
“Beyond Meat is targeting the grocery stores, the Impossible Burger is targeting the restaurant segment at the moment. Over time, I think these pioneering companies are likely to retain some market share. I think there’s going to be other players entering the market — Nestle and Tyson have already said they’re going to throw their hat into the ring later this year,” she said. “There’s going to be a lot of opportunity for a number of players, I think, to do well here.”
Beyond Meat and privately owned Impossible Foods have been snapping up fast food and casual restaurant chain supplier relationships to carve out market share. Pizza chain Little Caesars said Monday that it would test a meat pizza using Impossible sausage, while Tim Hortons said last week that they were launching Beyond breakfast sandwiches.