A series of class-action lawsuits alleging deceptive practices by Beyond Meat will be heard as a single case in Chicago, a court ruled Wednesday.
The suits allege Beyond Meat Inc., which sells plant-based meat-substitute products, miscalculates and overstates the protein content in its foods and misleads consumers about the nutritional benefits, compared to traditional meat products.
The lead complaint, filed in September, alleges that a method of testing a product's protein content — through an interaction with a nitrogen compound — reveals some Beyond Meat products contain less protein than what is required to be shown on a label.
"For example, Defendant’s Beyond Beef Plant-Based Ground 16oz Patties, which is labeled as '20G Per Serving' and '40% DV' for protein, actually contains 19G Per Serving by nitrogen testing, and 7% DV for protein," the complaint states.
A representative for Beyond Meat did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Beyond Meat announced last fall it would be laying off 200 workers. That was on top of a 4% reduction in its workforce announced in August. According to the food industry news website FoodDive, the company has missed revenue targets and cut its annual projections.
Its nearest rival, Impossible Foods, has also struggled, and this week announced it would cut its workforce by 20%.
A recent Bloomberg News feature called plant-based meat alternatives "a flop," quoting one analyst as saying regular meat-eating consumers are “just not that into it."