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CORRECTED-Beyond Meat triples distribution of plant-based burgers at Walmart stores

(Corrects paragraph 3 to say 800 Walmart stores, not 8,000 Walmart stores)

Sept 29 (Reuters) - Beyond Meat Inc said on Tuesday its burger patties will be available at more than 2,400 Walmart Inc stores from next week, as it triples distribution with the retailer to tap into the growing demand for its plant-based meat products during the pandemic.

Demand for fully cooked plant-based alternatives jumped 25% in the four weeks to Aug. 22, data from Nielsen showed, as consumers grow increasingly health conscious and concerned about the environmental impact of industrial animal farming.

The company said the wider distribution of its Beyond Burger patties - made from peas, mung bean and rice to mimic the taste of a beef burger - from 800 Walmart stores to over 2,400 comes after the successful launch of its value offerings this summer, at a time traditional ground beef prices were spiking due to COVID-19-related supply chain disruptions at beef plants.

It also comes at a time the company, which derives about half of its global sales from restaurants such as Dunkin and KFC, is trying to reroute its products to retailers to keep sales humming as restaurants continue to remain closed due to coronavirus-led restrictions. Tuesday’s deal with Walmart, which in 2015 was the first retailer to launch its frozen offerings, comes on the heels of Beyond Meat’s announcement about expanding availability of its breakfast sausage patties at 5,000 more stores in the United States by the end of September.

Along with the burger, Walmart also sells other Beyond Meat products such as its plant-based sausage in the fresh meat aisle and sausage patties in freezer aisles, the plant-based meat maker said. The sausage and sausage patties, however, were not part of the expanded distribution deal.

Reporting by Siddharth Cavale in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli

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