Whole Foods Market, a customer of Don Lee Farms plant-based and meat proteins since 2012, introduced startup Beyond Meat 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). The Beyond Burger was solely manufactured by Don Lee Farms under the exclusive supply agreement in 2016. After the success of the new burger, the startup walked away from the agreement in 2017 and transferred all production and processes developed under the agreement to other food manufacturers.
The Beyond Burger, Beyond Meats flagship product, is around 70% of their total sales according to the startup.
Beyond Meat is currently being sued by Don Lee Farms for fraud, negligence and breach of contract. During the agreement, Don Lee Farms shared trade secrets, know-how and technology the family food company developed over 35 years.
During the partnership, Don Lee Farms raised significant concerns regarding inadequate food safety protocols for raw materials produced at Beyond Meats facility, after receiving adulterated product to be used to make consumer items for Beyond Meat.
About Don Lee Farms
Established in California in 1982, Don Lee Farms is a family-owned producer of fresh and frozen foods for some of the world’s most recognized and successful brands. Don Lee Farms makes plant-based and meat proteins for over 10,000 markets, clubs, foodservice and school foodservice locations in over 15 countries. Consumer products and end items are sold at major retailers nationwide such as Costco Wholesale, Whole Foods Markets, Trader Joes, Kroger, Publix, HEB, Albertsons and Safeway under the Don Lee Farms label, private brands and under brands of their partners. For more information, visit www.DonLeeFarms.com or follow Don Lee Farms on Facebook and Twitter, @DonLeeFarms.
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Don Lee Farms