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New protein sources, less salt key goals for Beyond Meat in 2020

Beyond Meat Inc. is looking to use a wider range of plant proteins for its burgers, sausages and other meat products as it looks to expand outside the U.S., its executive chairman said Jan. 13.

So far, Beyond Meat has relied on a few plants for its products, with peas playing a particularly important role. But as it expands to new parts of the world, the company's goal is to use locally available plants to produce their meat alternatives, Seth Goldman told an audience at the National Retail Federation's Big Show in New York.

"Our goal is to be plant-agnostic," he told the audience. "We should be able to take protein from any plant that has protein."

Reducing the salt content in Beyond's products is also a priority, Goldman said, adding that the company's products have "relatively high sodium content relative to animal meat." One Beyond Burger contains about 16% of the recommended daily sodium intake, the company has said, and health experts have pointed to the product's high salt and saturated fat content as drawbacks.

Beyond Meat has set its sights abroad for 2020, with plans to start production in Asia by the end of the year. China presents a particularly appealing market for the food company thanks to a growing population and a shortage of pork due to African swine fever's ravaging of domestic hog herds.

Rival Impossible Foods Inc. said Jan. 7 that it would no longer pursue a deal to supply its own plant-based burgers to McDonald's Corp., citing supply issues. The news sent Beyond Meat's stock higher by as much as 12.5% on Jan. 7.