During the 2016 exclusive supply agreement between the two companies, Don Lee Farms shared with the meat company trade secrets, know-how and technology the family food company developed for 35 years.
The Beyond Burger was solely manufactured by Don Lee Farms under the agreement. After the success of the new burger, the meat company walked away from the agreement in 2017 and transferred all production and processes developed under the agreement to other food manufacturers.
The Beyond Burger, the company’s flagship product, is around 70 percent of total sales, according to the startup.
Whole Foods Market, a customer of Don Lee Farms’ since 2012, introduced the startup to Don Lee Farms in 2014 to help them make meat alternatives. Beyond Meat entered into an exclusive supply agreement with Don Lee Farms to produce all of their products, including the development and launch of the Beyond Burger.
During the partnership, Don Lee Farms raised concerns regarding inadequate food safety protocols for raw materials produced at thr meat facility after receiving adulterated product to be used to make consumer items for Beyond Meat.
Established in California in 1982, Don Lee Farms is a family-owned producer of fresh and frozen foods. The company makes plant-based and meat proteins for more than 10,000 markets, clubs, foodservice and school foodservice locations in more than 15 countries.