Beyond Meat executive exits after biting incident

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Beyond Meat COO Douglas Ramsey.Image source, Washington County Arkansas
Image caption,
Beyond Meat chief operating officer Douglas Ramsey

The Beyond Meat executive who was accused of biting a man's nose is leaving the vegan food company.

The US firm, known for its plant-based burgers, had suspended Douglas Ramsey, then chief operating officer, indefinitely after the incident.

His departure comes amid a broader shake-up at the company, which is struggling with faltering demand for fake meat.

The firm also said it was axing 200 staff, about 20% of its workforce.

"We believe our decision to reduce personnel and expenses throughout the company, including our leadership group, reflects an appropriate right-sizing of our organization given current economic conditions," Beyond Meat boss Ethan Brown said.

"We remain confident in our ability to deliver on the long-term growth and impact expected from our global brand."

Beyond Meat, which started selling its plant-based food in 2012, has blamed cost-of-living pressures for pushing shoppers to less expensive options, including traditional meat.

The company has also seen its edge eroded by a wealth of new competitors, including from food giants such as Kellogg and Tyson Foods.

Executives warned investors on Friday that sales this year are likely to fall 9% to 14% compared to 2021.

It is the second time the company had cut its forecast in recent months - and marks a sharp slowdown from the more than 20% growth the firm had initially projected.

The company said it had been "negatively impacted by ongoing softness in the plant-based meat category overall, especially in the refrigerated subsegment, and by the impact of increased competition".

"Inflation is believed to be an underlying factor exerting pressure on the category as consumers trade down into cheaper forms of protein, including animal meat," it added.

Beyond Meat had announced an earlier round of job cuts in August. Multiple executives in addition to Mr Ramsey have also left the company in recent weeks.

The company did not respond to a request for comment about Mr Ramsey.

He was arrested last month for reportedly biting a man's nose during a row after a football game in Arkansas. His last day was 14 October, the company said.

Before joining Beyond Meat last year, Mr Ramsey had a three-decade career at meat processing giant Tyson Foods, where he oversaw the company's poultry and McDonald's business units.