© Reuters. Vegetarian sausages from Beyond Meat Inc, the vegan burger maker, are shown for sale at a market in Encinitas, California

By Nivedita Balu and Tina Bellon

(Reuters) – Beyond Meat Inc said it expects to more than double its revenue this year, sending the plant-based burger maker’s shares up over 21 percent.

The company, which also reported quarterly revenue above Wall Street estimates in its first results as a public company, said it expects net revenue of $210 million, an increase of more than 140% compared to 2018.

Analysts on average were expecting sales of $205 million, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

On a conference call with analysts, Chief Executive Officer Ethan Brown said the company’s forecast is conservative as it does not include the current trials Beyond Meat is undertaking with fast-food chains in the United States.

Beyond Meat’s burgers feel, smell and taste like real meat, but is made of yellow pea protein, canola oil and other vegetable starches.

The patties were a hit with consumers switching to a “flexitarian” diet, helping the company grow its sales five- fold since it began selling its flagship Beyond Burger in 2016.

“Beyond Meat is in a business that could be absolutely incredible,” John Gillin, an analyst with Stansberry Research, said.

The stakes are high in the battle over supermarket real estate, as upstart Beyond Meat seeks to quickly carve out its place in the meat section in the face of pushback from meat producers before more plant-based rivals from Impossible Foods and Nestle SA (SIX:) hit the market.

Unlike some of its competitors, Beyond Meat avoids using genetically modified organisms as well as soy in its burgers, Brown said aiming to underprice animal protein to capture more market share in the future.

The California-based company said net loss widened to $6.6 million in the three months ended March 30, from $5.7 million a year earlier.

Loss per share for the first quarter narrowed to 95 cents per share from 98 cents.

Net revenue came in at $40.2 million, an increase of 215%, the company said. Analysts had expected revenue of $38.9 million.

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2019-06-06