In the current research, the structure of Beyond Meat is analyzed according to Porter’s model of five forces. The study shows how different strengths and weaknesses of the company can enhance its profitability and distinctiveness. The firm pertains to a range of newly established organizations that bases its production on meat substitutes of an organic origin; thus, the field is hardly examined. The central part of the research consists of information about the food industry, then an examination of the firm’s performance is delivered.
Beyond Meat belongs to the food production industry, where competition between companies is relatively high. Only the list of the US firms rising the most rapidly consists of more than a hundred organizations, meaning that the whole industry is vast (Wiley, 2019, para. 1). Such conditions may seem non-beneficial for firms, as increased rivalry implies a range of additional efforts required from top managers. Those are persistent contests of newly presented goods, promotions, costs of products, and services available (Parnell, 2014b). Nevertheless, the substantial rates of competition may be helpful for businesses since they enhance the possibility of building a distinctive image of a firm (Berendt et al., 2018). Remarkable features, strategies, or products comprise a vital competitive advantage for profitable, successful companies (Parnell, 2014a). Thus, the food industry contains multiple highly competitive units, but this factor is valuable for firms trying to achieve distinctiveness.
Rivalry and firm identification are crucial for other reasons as well. Beyond Meat states that all its products are vegan; in addition, they deliver only meat-containing meals (Beyond Meat, 2020). This fact emphasizes the company’s exclusiveness, as the range of food it manufactures is specific. Therefore, the extent to which other food-producing firms may propose their substitutes is reduced. Next, the firm is not slowly growing, as it produces organic food via “heating, cooling, and pressure”; no high technologies are required, making the start of production simple (Beyond Meat, 2020, para. 10). Such companies tend to restrain from employing innovations of their rivals and stress the competition on service and prices (Parnell, 2014b). However, in Lancaster and Massingham book (2017), creating reliable goods distribution channels is proposed as another competitive strategy. Therefore, the specificity of a firm, including the rates of its growths and the narrowing of products domain, define the strategy it should imply.
The other important element of a company’s successful management is switching costs. In the case of Beyond Meat, the products and services could be effortlessly imitated by other firms. Namely, their products are food, a part of people’s everyday life, to which they feel little emotional attachment. Then, a person might choose an opponent firm’s meat if available over some time, without even giving it much thought. An appropriate strategical step can be widening the proposal of additional products needed to use the main ones. However, Willys (2018) states that increasing switching costs is not always profitable, while customers’ happiness is the key. That said, the company ought to consider its product replaceability and keep its buyers’ interest and demand.
Apart from rivals that have established their businesses already, a threat from new entrepreneurs may influence a company’s revenue. The food industry traditionally presents a lucrative opportunity for newcomers in trade. To start producing edibles, neither considerable capital is needed nor high skills and equipment. According to Parnell (2014b), such circumstances may provoke excessive competition with no positive outcome. Beyond Meat is endangered by entrants in the production of vegan meat as it remains open about ingredients used for meals and manufacturing details (Beyond Meat, 2019). Conclusively, the company might need to consider such dangers coming from novices in the industry.
Another source of concern for each entrepreneur is the thread of substitution. As Parnell (2014b) explains, there is always a possibility that industry products might become less demanded because of customers’ new preference for the other field of commodities. For Beyond Meat, companies from the subindustries like regular, not based on plant ingredients, fast foods are threatening. The popularity of meat substitutes similar to Beyond Sausages, Beyond Meatballs has increased as people grow more worried about their health (Cottenet & Blancpain, 2021). Nevertheless, the company should be attentive to customers’ food choices since the rivals may try to alter the trends and switch the demand to their products.
The last factors that impact an industry significantly are supplier and buyer powers. Notably, for the food industry, the suppliers are abundant: food ingredients and meals manufacturers are numerous, as has been already mentioned. Furthermore, the customers do not value the food items as new technologies or expensive equipment. Thus, shoppers tend to criticize any rises in prices and have serious power over bargains. In brief, managers that design a company’s plan of development are to clarify who is more dominant in settings of production costs and how to face this.
Based on the matters discussed above, the strong sides of Beyond Meat company could be evaluated. First of all, the specialization in a narrow field of food production creates a competitive advantage that can compete with other firms. In the list of plant-based meat producers from Golden (n.d.), barely a hundred and a half companies are provided. Meanwhile, top traditional restaurants in the USA alone amount to 500 (Restaurant Business, n.d.). This advantage provides a solution for both rivalry and substitution issues. Moreover, Beyond Meat can easily change its suppliers if they do not meet the requirements for price. As an illustration, one of the meat ingredients used by the company is pea; manufacturers of the plant could be chosen from 231 organizations, a reasonably high number (Europages, n.d.). The recommendation here is to continue the campaign of healthy food and select only the advantageous suppliers. Hence, the company’s current strategy directed on the rivalry, substitution, and suppliers’ agreement could be continued.
Some issues in the company’s structure are present and might be solved, too. Firstly, the meat is produced without unique technologies or ingredients. This may cause a lack in the firm’s distinctiveness and facilitate new people entering the subindustry. The company may enhance its delivery system or enlarge its faculties to attain a strategic advance. Similarly, the switch costs are possible to rise if the company starts to sell not ready meals but only meat and some equipment used to cook the firm’s products only. To fight the excess in the power of customers over prices, top managers need to analyze the clients and estimate their average ability to pay to keep costs according to these data. Consequently, a higher profit is achievable if these strategic steps are intended and implemented successfully.
To conclude, the food industry is a highly competitive one, with the fast growth of companies and little effort and capital needed for its entering. Beyond Meat utilizes its vegan direction as a counterpart to numerous rivals. Similarly, the firm’s distinctiveness is hard to achieve because of its industry limitations and the extensive ability of its customers to influence prices. The strategic proposals are extending the production of the goods, enhancing the channels of distribution of products, and analyzing the buyers’ abilities to spend money. Further research could be conducted on the topic of the company’s development and success.
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