Beyond Meat’s Pending IPO Could Be Valued at $1.2 Billion

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“Beyond Meat Inc., the maker of vegan chicken and beef substitutes backed by some of the biggest names in food and technology, is seeking to raise as much as $184 million in its initial public offering.

The company plans to sell 8.75 million shares for $19 to $21 each, according to a filing Monday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. A listing at the top of that range would give the company a market value of about $1.2 billion based on the shares to be outstanding after the offer, according to its filing.

The company is one of several makers of plant-based meat substitutes or lab-grown meats that have attracted high-profile backers. Its investors include Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates and actor Leonardo Dicaprio, as well as former McDonald’s Corp. chief executive officer Don Thompson. Beyond Meat’s biggest stakeholders are venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers LLC, which owns 16 percent of the company, and Twitter Inc. co-founder Ev William’s Obvious Ventures with 9 percent, according to its filings.

Tyson Foods Inc., the largest U.S. meat producer, is accelerating development of its own alternative-protein products and is also a backer of Beyond Meat. Tyson has invested in Jerusalem-based Future Meat Technologies and, along with Gates, Richard Branson and Cargill Inc., is an investor in Memphis Meats, a cultured meat producer.”

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McDonald’s Redefines Health In Terms Of Sustainability

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“McDonald’s is moving toward a menu free of artificial colors, flavors and preservatives, but every product has a unique challenge, said Amy Wilcox, director of quality systems and supply chain management for McDonald’s USA. She and her colleague, Cynthia Goody, chief nutritionist for McDonald’s, explained how “clean” ingredients are a key part of the chain’s sustainability initiative during the “Sustainable Approach to the Menu” panel at Restaurant Leadership Conference.

But “we can’t use the clean label description, because everyone has a different definition,” said Wilcox. “We had to create our own definition for suppliers, operators and customers. And that involved a lot of outreach to make sure all our suppliers were on the same page.”

The chain, in fact, announced this past September that is was removing artificial preservatives from its “classic” burger lineup in the U.S. “We have a great group of suppliers,” said Chris Kempczinski, president of McDonald’s U.S., at the time. And now, the chain announced that a third of its eggs are cage-free—and it expects to source 726 million cage-free eggs this year. Right now, chicken nuggets fit the sustainability criteria, as do American cheese and burgers. As far as McDonald’s burger goes, “the pickle presented a problem,” said Wilcox. “We couldn’t find one that fit our definition, so we went forward with what we had and put an asterisk next to it on the menu. Being truthful and transparent is important to us.”

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Truebird Swoops Into New York with Robotic Specialty Coffee Kiosks

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“(…) Could the surly and spirited humans of old New York embrace a joe by droid? A new company called Truebird has fluttered in to find out.

Like its predecessors, Truebird pitches its system squarely at the specialty coffee crowd, claiming that its automated coffee kiosks offer drinks that are “consistently as good as those made by the best baristas using the finest ingredients and equipment.”

At a Truebird coffee station, customers are able to choose a fresh and locally roasted coffee from a touchscreen menu, then designate a type of milk and an espresso beverage style for the machine to execute.

The flat ceramic “standard” burrs of one of the machine’s two integrated grinders break the beans. An extraction occurs, and milk is stretched by unseen internals as the customer waits, while a trio of cute, black magnet-driven pucks charmingly coordinate to nudge cups around on the visible surface behind glass.

“We chose our magnetic transport solution versus other options, including an articulated robotic arm, for a variety of reasons, but chief among them was the surprisingly warm, approachable, and magical experience it creates,” Truebird CEO and Co-Founder Josh Feuerstein told Daily Coffee News. “We believe a coffee break is not just about the quality of the drink, but about the feel of the experience. We’ve tried to make every element of our product warm, approachable, and beautiful, from the design of the micro-cafe itself, to the mesmerizing experience of watching your cup glide from the espresso machine towards your hand. We keep that emotional component top-of-mind in our design process. It’s a fascinating challenge, especially for an automated product.”

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Will Legal Marijuana Create New Restaurant Opportunities?

Will legal marijuana create new restaurant opportunities?“If you’ve been to a food conference lately you’ll notice there’s at least one session talking about cannabis, CBD, cannabinoids, or whatever term we’re using now. I’ve been to two conferences in recent weeks that addressed the topic and I’m writing this post while in California, where voters legalized recreational use of marijuana via referendum in 2016. Therefore, I have pot on the brain — so to speak.

At NPD we’re always analyzing how trends affect the food and beverage industry and if you talk to a — what shall we call them, “pot enthusiasts” — you’ll know food plays a major role when they use marijuana. This can be from how they ingest the marijuana to the munchies leading them to eat a variety of indulgent foods.

We took a look in our SnackTrack information, which monitors the consumption of ready-to-eat, convenience-oriented snack foods in the U.S., to see if there are changes since legalization occurred. In those states that legalized recreational marijuana, brownie consumption has increased a whopping 107 percent compared to pre-legalization times. Chewy candies, which had a stable consumption level for years, grew by 17 percent after legalization, and fruit snacks also increased after legalization.

I’m not sure yet if this is a result of the munchies, pot brownies or gummies, and all I can fully say with confidence is these changes are correlations. However, these correlations are in line with what we’ve known anecdotally for some time about recreational pot usage and can point to growth opportunities should more states allow it.”

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McDonalds Buys Dynamic Yield For $300 Million to Bring Big Data to Drive-Thru

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“In a testament to the value of personalization, McDonald’s announced plans to acquire an Israel-based startup that uses data to serve up personalized offers to customers. According to people familiar with the matter, McDonald’s will acquire Dynamic Yield for upwards of $300 million.

The acquisition will inject technology into multiple areas of the traditional fast food restaurant, starting with a core feature: the drive-thru. McDonald’s tested the technology in a Miami location, where, according to Wired, the company’s algorithms took real-life factors like weather and traffic into account, suggesting appropriate menu items.

Thanks to new technology, restaurants collect plenty of data. But the practical application of that data is big business, and McDonald’s is seizing that opportunity with the Dynamic Yield buy.

“Upon closing of the acquisition, McDonald’s will begin to roll this technology out in the drive thru at restaurants in the United States in 2019 and then expand the use to other top international markets,” the company said in a statement on the news. “McDonald’s will also begin work to integrate the technology into all of its digital customer experience touchpoints, such as self-order kiosks and McDonald’s global mobile app.”

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Michelin-Starred Kyo Ya’s Longtime Chef Is Leaving to Open His Own Restaurant

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“Kyo Ya has been open since 2007, one of the first kaisekis in the city before the influx of Japanese restaurants — serving an eight-course seasonal menu for $150 with ingredients from all over Japan, including raw fish like whelk, sea eel, and abalone. Times critic Pete Wells gave the restaurant a three-star review in 2012, praising Sono’s mastery of seasonal ingredients, and it’s been awarded a Michelin star for many years.

Despite its critical acclaim, the restaurant has remained a bit of a hidden gem, bearing no signage for its lowkey subterranean space. In 2015, it also spurred a French-Japanese spinoff called Autre Kyo Ya, which has since closed. Eater has reached out to the restaurant’s ownership for details on what’s next for Kyo Ya.”

“Chikara Sono — the executive chef who led acclaimed East Village Japanese restaurant Kyo Ya to a Michelin star — is leaving the restaurant after 12 years of cooking up a multi-course kaiseki menu of raw and hot small plates. The star chef plans to open his own restaurant. Sono tells Eater that he’s leaving on March 31 in order to open a restaurant of his own; he has already started scouting spaces. In the meantime, Sono will do catering and consulting.”

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New NYC restaurants include Pastrami Queen, Black Seed Bagels expansions

You can now get Pastrami Queen's corned beef

Pastrami Queen

“The longtime Jewish deli has added a second Manhattan location. Like the Upper East Side location, the new Times Square joint will serve Jewish staples like corned beef and brisket sandwiches, matzo ball soup and latkes. The outpost will also exclusively offer an all-day breakfast menu with items such as pastrami and eggs and Belgian waffles.”

See more openings here.