The Latest: Beyond Meat shares jump in market debut

Fake meat maker Beyond Meat sees shares jump in market debut

NEW YORK -- The Latest on Beyond Meat's initial public offering (all times local):

1:15 p.m.

Beyond Meat's shares are zooming upward in its stock market debut.

The fake meat company's share price rose to $59 on the Nasdaq Thursday afternoon, more than double their starting price of $25.

The California-based purveyor of plant-based burgers and sausages is the first vegan "meat" maker to go public. The 10-year-old company has attracted celebrity investors but has never made an annual profit.

The IPO comes amid growing consumer interest in plant-based foods. U.S. sales of plant-based meats jumped 42% between March 2016 and March 2019 to a total of $888 million while traditional meat sales rose only 1% to $85 billion, according to Nielsen.

Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown said the IPO timing is right because the company wants to expand overseas. He also wants consumers to be able to buy shares since they have fueled the company's growth.

"It really is a wonderful feeling to be able to welcome people in who have helped this brand," Brown told The Associated Press.

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6 a.m.

Beyond Meat is expected to make its debut on the Nasdaq stock exchange Thursday.

It's the first time a manufacturer of plant-based meat is going public.

California-based Beyond Meat makes burgers and sausages out of pea protein and other ingredients. It raised about $240 million selling 9.6 million shares at $25 per share. That values the company at about $1.5 billion.

The 10-year-old company has attracted celebrity investors like Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and actor Leonardo DiCaprio. It sells to 30,000 grocery stores, restaurants and schools in the U.S. and abroad.

But the company has never made a profit. It's also facing serious competition from other "new meat" companies like Impossible Foods and traditional players like Tyson Foods.