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Meati Foods embarks on 2nd round of layoffs

BOULDER — The path to scalability for vegetable protein company Meati will require more layoffs than it had anticipated would be the case in June.

The company told media outlets this week that it laid off 60 people, then reassigned 30 of them, for a net 10% reduction in its workforce. That’s on top of the 5%, or 17 people, that it terminated in June. 

Meati Foods, the trade name for Emergy Inc., is working to convert mushroom-based proteins into products that resemble whole cuts of meat. 

While optimistic about the future of plant-based proteins — the company recently opened a production facility in Thornton that it called its “mega ranch” — the industry as a whole has seen declining sales, industry sources reported. Meati, the company said, continues to see incremental growth in sales thanks to placement of its products in Whole Foods and Meijer grocery stores, among others.

In a written statement, the company said it “is a young, disruptive company navigating uncharted territory — bringing a novel food to the forefront of a highly competitive industry in a challenging economic climate. Each of these factors requires us to regularly evaluate every aspect of our operations. Meati is undergoing a structural reorganization and has made the difficult decision to reduce our workforce by 10%, effective immediately, impacting nearly every part of the organization.”

The cuts were necessary to maintain a sustainable business model, the statement said. “We must be nimble and focus on near-term profitability.”

Employees who were cut were offered a severance package, health insurance plans covered by the company, outplacement services and employee assistance programs, Meati said.

“Our confidence in Meati’s trajectory remains unwavering. Very few brands have ever entered the market in this way, with immediate category leadership and extreme consumer resonance. While our path forward has changed shape, we’re confident that the changes we’re making are the right course of action to support Meati’s continued growth and leadership. Meati’s team will continue to grow as nearly 100 additional positions are added in the near-term to expand production capacity.”

At last report, Meati had moved into about a third of its “mega ranch” production facility.

Source: BizWest