Tim Hortons will stop selling Beyond Meat in breakfast sandwiches just seven months after adding the faux-meat products to its menu.
The coffee and doughnuts chain launched the breakfast sandwiches with Beyond Meat Inc. sausage patties across the country in June. Three months later, the company dropped the sandwiches in most provinces but kept them on menus in Ontario and British Columbia, which account for more than 60 per cent of its locations in Canada. It also confirmed at the time that it would no longer sell Beyond Meat burgers, saying they had been intended as a limited-time offer. The sandwiches will be phased out as supplies deplete.
“Ultimately, our guests choose to stay with the meat option in their breakfast sandwiches,” Restaurant Brands International Inc. spokesperson Sarah McConnell wrote in an e-mail on Wednesday. “We may offer plant-based alternatives again in the future, but we have removed it from the menu for now.”
Although the chain “extended the breakfast product in Ontario and in B.C., it was still [a limited-time offer],” she wrote.
However, the company had previously expressed optimism about the potential for meat alternatives to increase sales at Tim Hortons.
During a conference call to discuss the company’s earnings in August, Restaurant Brands chief executive Jose Cil said that imitation meat products, such as the Impossible Whopper (made by Beyond Meat rival, Impossible Foods Inc.) at Burger King, were drawing new customers and younger people into the restaurants.
"We’re seeing the same thing with Tim Hortons in Canada, with breakfast options that include Beyond Meat. So we’re really excited about it,” Mr. Cil said at the time, adding that the breakfast sandwich was “performing well” and driving added sales.
“We launched other products, plant-based products, that were more limited-time offers to see if there was an opportunity there for growth, and we felt ultimately that it was only going to be a short-term limited-time offer, which is how it performed and how we dealt with it. But we feel good about the plant-based breakfast patty working well in many of our restaurants in Ontario and beyond, and we’ll continue to evolve our breakfast offering to continue to wow our guests in Canada,” Mr. Cil said on another earnings call in October.
The consumption of imitation meat products has been a growing trend recently, fuelling the launch of new products and investment in plant-based food companies. Beyond Meat has expanded its reach in the fast-food business, with burgers sold at A&W restaurants and more recently, a faux-meatball sub at Subway. In September, quick-service giant McDonald’s Corp. announced it would test a new Beyond Meat burger in London, Ont., as it considers whether meat alternatives would be worth launching in more of its restaurants. This month, McDonald’s announced it would extend the three-month trial to six months, in 52 restaurants in Southwestern Ontario. Beyond Meat products are also sold in grocery stores, where the company recently launched an imitation ground-beef product called Beyond Beef.
Canada is the second-largest market for Beyond Meat after the U.S., out of more than 50 countries where its products are sold. Founder Ethan Brown told The Globe and Mail in November that Canada will be a strategic focus for the company this year.
“We are always open to collaborating with our partners and may work with them again in the future,” Beyond Meat wrote in a statement Wednesday.
Your time is valuable. Have the Top Business Headlines newsletter conveniently delivered to your inbox in the morning or evening. Sign up today.