Beyond Meat's Q1 hobbled by marketing costs, lower prices

FILE - In this June 27, 2019, file photo, a meatless burger patty called Beyond Burger by Beyond Meat is displayed at a grocery store in Richmond, Va. Plant-based meat company Beyond Meat has posted a first-quarter loss after higher sales were offset by marketing costs and lower prices. The company based in El Segundo, California reported Thursday, May 6, 2021 that its revenue rose 11% to $108.2 million in the January-March period. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)
FILE - In this June 27, 2019, file photo, a meatless burger patty called Beyond Burger by Beyond Meat is displayed at a grocery store in Richmond, Va. Plant-based meat company Beyond Meat has posted a first-quarter loss after higher sales were offset by marketing costs and lower prices. The company based in El Segundo, California reported Thursday, May 6, 2021 that its revenue rose 11% to $108.2 million in the January-March period. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Plant-based meat company Beyond Meat posted a first-quarter loss Thursday after higher sales were offset by marketing costs and lower prices.

The company based in El Segundo, California, reported that its revenue rose 11.4% to $108.2 million in the January-March period. That fell short of Wall Street's forecast of $112.6 million, according to analysts polled by FactSet.

Beyond Meat reported a net loss of $27.3 million, compared to a profit of $1.8 million in the same period a year ago. Adjusted for one-time items, the company lost 42 cents per share. Analysts had expected a loss of 18 cents a share.

Beyond Meat's shares fell 6.5% in after-market trading Thursday.

Beyond Meat said its U.S. retail sales rose 28% in the quarter. The company added hot Italian sausage and value burger packs at several hundred Walmart stores in March. Its international retail sales more than doubled as it added 2,400 outlets in Europe.

But food-service sales were down 26% in the U.S. and 44% internationally, reflecting lower demand from restaurants and other venues during the pandemic.

That is slowly turning around, Beyond Meat President and CEO Ethan Brown said. Food-service demand in the U.S. ticked up 9% in the first quarter compared to the fourth quarter of 2020. But Brown said the company's food-service recovery could lag broader restaurant reopenings since it sold a high proportion of products to big venues like stadiums that are still not at full capacity.

Beyond Meat made several high-profile deals with big restaurant chains in the first quarter. The company inked a three-year deal with McDonald’s that makes it the preferred supplier of the chain’s upcoming McPlant burger. Beyond Meat signed a similar deal with Yum Brands, the parent company of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, and it formed a partnership with PepsiCo to co-develop plant-based snacks and drinks.