"The fundamentals underpinning Beyond Meats long-term prospects remain robust," CEO Brown said.

"The fundamentals underpinning Beyond Meat's long-term prospects remain robust," CEO Brown said.

Beyond Meat has struck contracts with two major QSR chains but shares in the US-based meat-free supplier still fell amid Q4 results Wall Street said were weaker than expected.

The maker of the Beyond Burger announced "strategic" deals with McDonald's and KFC operator Yum Brands.

A three-year "global strategic agreement" with McDonald's will see Beyond Meat make the fast-food group's McPlant plant-based burger.

Through a "a global strategic partnership" with Yum, Beyond Meat will "co-create" items for the menus at KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.

The deal with McDonald's followed uncertainty on Wall Street in November about the relationship between the two companies after the restaurant chain announced it was launching McPlant. At the time, investors and analysts were unsure about the role Beyond Meat had played in the development of the new product and would have moving forward.

Beyond Meat founder and CEO Ethan Brown yesterday (25 February) described the contract with McDonald's as "an exciting milestone" for the business.

The announcements on the new contracts came alongside the publication of Beyond Meat's financial results for the fourth quarter of 2020 and the year as a whole.

In the final three months of the year, Beyond Meat's net revenues rose 3.5% to US$101.9m, as rising retail sales offset the pressure on the company's business with foodservice amid the Covid-19 lockdowns.

Beyond Meat booked a fourth-quarter loss from operations of $24.5m compared to $927,000 a year earlier as lower volumes led to a "lower absorption of fixed overhead production costs". The company also pointed to costs from investment in "headcount to support long-term growth", in efforts to expand internationally international expansion efforts, IT spending and marketing, among others.

The firm's fourth-quarter net loss was $25.1m, versus $452,000 in the corresponding period of 2019.

In 2020 as a whole, Beyond Meat's net revenue grew 36.6% to $406.8m, with retail sales in the US and overseas more than doubling.

The company made an annual loss from operations of $49.3m against $489,000 in 2019. Its annual net loss was $52.8m, compared to $12.4m a year earlier.

Brown said: "Given our view that we are at a pivotal juncture, where we have an opportunity to transition from niche market to mainstream stature with bold, strategic actions, we will continue to invest aggressively in 2021 to accelerate our path towards this objective."

Alexia Howard, an analyst covering Beyond Meat for investment bank AllianceBernstein, said the company's fourth-quarter results were "somewhat weaker than expected". She added: "The partnerships with McDonald's and Yum will start to bear fruit late in 2021: in reality, neither of these partnerships are really new news, although the announcements do represent a more formal relationship than the company was able to announce last quarter. We also imagine that the pricing negotiations with these new partners may leave profits on these contracts somewhat constrained relative to existing foodservice relationships."

Shares in Beyond Meat, which started the day at $152.33, closed down 5.46% yesterday at $143.75. In extended trading after the close of the New York Stock Exchange, which was when Beyond Meat made its announcements, the company's shares initially rallied but still closed lower at $145.