Beyond Meat ($BYND) stock is sizzling and grills across the US are fired up - but some are saying "flexitarians" (or, people who eat both burger beef and pea-protein beef) are helping to juice sales.

In Kroger aisles, the recent experiment of putting plant-based meats with the burgers, instead of with the vegetables, generated juicer sales, according to one report. And despite the fact that the faux-burger company’s prowess put it even at the top end of the overperforming Nasdaq in 2020, some analysts still aren’t sold.

While sales are beefing up, it's not clear Beyond Meat needed to continue expanding as aggressively in the spring, as the pandemic slowed business to a crawl nationwide. But now, in summer, it seems that people are socially distancing, and chowing down, and Beyond Meat is poised to benefit. 

UBS analysts boosted their price target for Beyond Meat shares in a note last week - but they’re still not sanguine on the stock, saying “deeper penetration of existing categories and distribution is a growth driver, but competition presents a challenge.” UBS analysts have the stock rated a “Sell.”

Perhaps the reason why Beyond Meat keeps pulling job postings off of the web is that it's filling those roles. So far this year, according to its LinkedIn Employee Count, headcount at Beyond Meat is up more than 100, or about 40%. 

That competition UBS is referring to is Impossible Foods, Beyond Meat’s California-based competitor that has managed to not just outstrip its pace for headcount, but also is seeing chatter on social media climb. America is barely able to get itself into the notion that it’s going to have non-meat-hamburgers; and most consumers haven’t yet developed a spot on their palate for either brand - an opportunity for each company. 

For a time, Impossible Foods' trajectory on social media had it closing in on Beyond Meat - but right now, it's still topped on Facebook over its largest competitor in the business, at least gauged by how often people mention the brand online. And, our map below, tracks all of the locations and stores where it's available. 

And while Beyond Meat is getting a lot more attention, not all of it may be good. North of the border, Tim Horton's heard a boo when it added Beyond Meat to its offerings, and according to a recent Reuters report, the pea-protein meat substitute is already on the way to being phased off the menu. Maybe consumers just prefer cooking it up on their own grills. 

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.

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