Food & Drink

Meati Foods names CPG veteran as CFO as company juggles growth, profitability

Dive Brief:

  • Meati Foods appointed CPG veteran Phil Graves as its CFO, the plant-based meat company said in a statement.
  • The maker of alternative meats made from mushroom root said Graves will oversee the capital expenditures needed for Meati’s continued omnichannel expansion. Meati said Graves would leverage his prior experience helping companies balance “positive environmental and social impact alongside profit.”
  • The C-suite appointment comes as Meati has given greater priority in recent months to improving its finances. Last September, it laid off 10% of its workforce and announced it would focus on profitability.

Dive Insight:

As Meati matures, the Colorado-based company is balancing efforts faced by countless previous startups: scaling its business while conserving cash. This comes as Meati grapples with waning consumer interest in plant-based offerings and a consumer that is cutting back on spending amid inflation.

Graves’ expertise will prove vital in helping Meati navigate these challenges. The maker of plant-based cutlets and steaks said Graves has expertise in corporate finance at companies that want to have a positive impact on people and the planet while achieving profitability. He joins Meati from Wild Idea Buffalo where as CEO he oversaw the sale of sustainably raised buffalo meat. Graves also previously worked at Bass Pro Shops and Patagonia.

Meati’s growth over the past year has been astonishing, ” said Graves. “Meati’s MushroomRoot offers unprecedented innovation opportunities and exciting revenue possibilities. It’s a great opportunity to improve our food system in deep and lasting ways.”

If Meati is going to tap into these opportunities, it will need to have the cash runway and financial discipline that Graves appears to be bringing to the business.

The fermented mushroom mycelium analog company recently embarked on an ambitious growth plan, launching in 3,000 retail locations nationwide, including Whole Foods, Sprouts Farmers Market and Super Target. It also entered the plant-based snacking category and announced an online direct-to-consumer marketplace. Meati is aiming to become the U.S. market leader in the plant-based meat space by 2025.

So far, Meati appears to be on a stronger financial footing than some of its smaller competitors. Last September, meat alternative startups Hooray Foods and Nowadays announced they were going out of business. Hooray said on social media that “the economics of running a company of this size simply do not match our revenue.” Even bigger players, such as Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods and Maple Leaf Foods’ Greenleaf Foods, have all reduced staff.

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