May 27, 2022

Can Kim Kardashian save Beyond Meat?

Beyond Meat is leaning on star power to save flagging sales, Appen gets picked up and dunped and lithium continues its tear higher. These are the big stories from the week that was. 1. Food For Thought Beyond Meat finally lifted this week as the plant-based food company announced Kim Kardashian would become its “Chief Taste Consultant”….

By Jack Derwin

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Beyond Meat is leaning on star power to save flagging sales, Appen gets picked up and dunped and lithium continues its tear higher. These are the big stories from the week that was.

1. Food For Thought

Beyond Meat finally lifted this week as the plant-based food company announced Kim Kardashian would become its “Chief Taste Consultant”.

The arbitrary title sees the megastar to spruik BYND products to hundreds of millions of potential customers, joining Snoop Dogg and Kevin Hart as brand ambassadors.

As Beyond stock has fallen back to earth this year alongside dairy alternative Oatly, it  emphasises the challenge of growing the burgeoning plant-based market to scale.

As investors fret about profitability, Beyond has resorted to the world’s biggest stars to evangelise for it and quite hopefully convert meat-eaters.  Will it work?

2. What Appened? 

Appen, one of Australia’s fallen tech darlings, looked like being bought out after a Canadian telco lobbed a $1.2 billion takeover bid for it on Thursday.

Telus offered to pay a 48% premium for Appen, which provides a ready workforce to help big tech companies develop their own AI products – work now in decline.

Shares popped 30% on the news but within hours Telus had reneged, walking away without explanation. In a down market, expect more takeover attempts on the ASX.

3. Lit Up

The lithium market is firing. This week, miner Pilbara Minerals sold another 5000 tonnes of the stuff at record prices on the back of demand from the EV-sector.

It comes as one of the world’s largest automakers, Stellantis – think Chrysler and Peugeot – forecasts a shortage of EV batteries would emerge as soon as 2024.

While it raises concerns for EV-producers who will need to find a way to keep costs down, a booming market is an encouraging sign for Australia’s many lithium miners.

4. Snap Back

U.S. markets continued to whipsaw around with almost anything acting as the catalyst. Snap, a relative social minnow, this week warned advertising growth was slowing down.

It seemed enough to trigger another tech selloff on Tuesday with companies like Tesla and Meta copping it, despite the fact Snap is dwarfed by both.

Yet strong retail results overnight reassured investors that Americans are still spending. Throw in hopes that rate hikes will slow down and another rally emerged.

5. In The Blink Of An Eye

Google is rolling out ads on YouTube shorts, its answer to TikTok. Much the same as its rival, ads on 15-second videos will keep users shopping in-app.

However, Google currently has no plans to share any of that new advertising revenue with the people actually making the content and bringing in viewers.

Instead YouTube has been giving ‘small grants’ via its $100 million fund. Compare that to TikTok’s new subscription service, and the war for content rages on.

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