Imagine a world where Beyond Milk is a name you’d be seeing in grocery store aisles — and, perhaps, along with names like Beyond Tuna and Beyond Eggs. All of these encompass trademarks that the Beyond Meat company has applied for in recent years. Beyond Milk is the newest addition, and these applications offer a clear window into the company’s business strategy moving forward.
Beyond Meat has emerged as one of the most talked-about plant-based and vegan meat alternatives on the market — without the aggressive spite doled out by fellow food manufacturer Impossible Foods. Beyond Meat uses peas as its protein source, and recent research shows that the company’s Beyond Burger most closely resembled the odor profile of an actual hamburger when compared with other alternatives in the industry. Beyond’s product had “meaty, fatty and grilled meat characteristics,” according to the researchers.
Beyond’s dip into the milk alternative market is probably a smart business move, despite a market that’s already flooded with many alternatives, including pea-based ones from the likes of Bolthouse Farms and Ripple. Global sales of plant-based dairy alternatives are expected to grow 11 percent annually until 2031, with an estimated market value of $32 billion, according to a report published by an market research and consulting firm. Nutritionally, plant-based alternatives have gained a lot of ground on their dairy counterparts in the past year, with caloric, fat, and protein profiles becomes more and more similar.
Not to mention that the meat and dairy industries continue to face stiff challenges from alternative, non-livestock products, including losing legal ground over labeling standards.
According to the paperwork filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Beyond aims for it’s milk alterative to be used in “making milk shakes; coffee or tea beverages with milk or milk substitutes.” And while pea protein is at the forefront of the Beyond Burger, documents put this kind of application in league with “plants, nuts, seeds, oat, wheat, or rice” alternatives, so Beyond may be able to keep its options open in the market.
While there is little expectation that Beyond, a publicly traded company, wouldn’t get the trademark it seeks, Food Navigator detailed one hiccup that Beyond is facing. According to that outlet, Beyond Meat filed a notice of opposition with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, challenging a trademark application from German confectionery company Katjes Fassin GmbH, which hoped to use the Beyond Milk phrasing on candy products. Beyond claimed that it would cause confusion with Beyond’s trademarking efforts.
And not surprisingly, Impossible Foods, Beyond’s most vocal competitor, has also dipped its toe into dairy alternatives, having touted research into an Impossible Milk product line last year. These two companies clash vigorously over meat alternatives, so why over dairy ones, too?