Now playing
01:25
Beyond Meat CEO: We're an 'innovation engine'
Heinz ketchup packets are shown in New York on Monday, August 22, 2005. H.J. Heinz Co., the world's biggest ketchup maker, said first-quarter profit fell 19 percent on expenses to cut jobs and sell businesses.  (Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Heinz ketchup packets are shown in New York on Monday, August 22, 2005. H.J. Heinz Co., the world's biggest ketchup maker, said first-quarter profit fell 19 percent on expenses to cut jobs and sell businesses. (Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Now playing
01:53
Restaurants face a nationwide ketchup packet shortage
Taco Bell
Now playing
01:31
Chicken sandwiches are big business. See them all
burger king
burger king
burger king
Now playing
02:11
Burger King slammed for International Women's Day tweet
CNN
Now playing
01:32
These are the racist origins of Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben's
Now playing
01:16
See Burger King's retro new logo and uniforms
Now playing
03:39
This vegan restaurant is actually opening locations during the pandemic
Stew Leonard's
Now playing
04:46
Stew Leonard's CEO: We have plenty of food
Lifetime
Now playing
02:34
Mario Lopez stars as KFC's Col. Sanders in steamy movie
Now playing
02:48
Goldbelly is shipping food from iconic restaurants nationwide
Now playing
02:46
Why the world's largest ice cream company is betting on home delivery
screengrab mcplant
Getty Images
screengrab mcplant
Now playing
02:05
Internet mocks McDonald's new meatless burger
bacon mask 2
CNN
bacon mask 2
Now playing
02:00
This company is giving away bacon-scented face masks
Now playing
02:19
People are brewing fancier coffee at home. That's good for this company
Patrick Stewart and Mark Hamill, two legendary cultural icons, come together to settle the greatest debate of all time - what's for dinner?
Uber Eats/Youtube
Patrick Stewart and Mark Hamill, two legendary cultural icons, come together to settle the greatest debate of all time - what's for dinner?
Now playing
01:00
Uber Eats' new ad pits Luke Skywalker against Capt. Picard
Now playing
02:42
Imperfect Foods' business is booming during the pandemic
(CNN Business) —  

Beyond Meat is upgrading its meatless burger patty.

The plant-based protein company said on Tuesday that the new version of its flagship product, which starts hitting grocery shelves this week, looks, tastes and cooks even more like beef.

The improved patty uses coconut oil and cocoa butter to create a marbling effect to make the patty’s texture mimic real meat more closely. It also uses apple extract to help the the product brown like meat when it is cooked, and it uses a different mix of ingredients, including mung bean and rice protein, in addition to the original patty’s protein from peas.

Beyond Meat (BYND) is striving to create products that are indistinguishable from beef, pork and poultry for consumers who like meat but want to eat more healthfully and reduce their impacts on the planet.

The new burger “is a stop along that way,” Beyond CEO Ethan Brown told CNN Business. “It’s certainly not the end game.” Beyond’s competitor, Impossible Foods, came out with an improved version of its own burger patty in January.

The new version is designed to seem more like meat.
Beyond Meat
The new version is designed to seem more like meat.

For Beyond, the strategy means occasionally pulling products. The company recently discontinued its frozen plant-based chicken strips as it improves the recipe. “It’s part of our philosophy and our approach to innovation that we’re going to be constantly iterating,” Brown said, adding that the company is always working to make the flavor, aroma, appearance and texture of its meat alternatives more realistic.

Brown may be looking for improvements, but consumers have been happy with Beyond’s products so far. Beyond’s first-quarter sales, which totaled $40.2 million, spiked 215% from the same period a year before, the company reported last week. Impossible, which doesn’t release exact sales figures, says its sales have spiked 50% since the launch of its new patty.

Investors and mainstream restaurant chains have taken notice of the trend.

Beyond had a wildly successful initial public offering last month. Since then, its stock price has increased dramatically: It’s currently trading at about seven times its IPO price of $25. Meanwhile major brands are adding or experimenting with menu items featuring Beyond and Impossible’s products, including Burger King, Little Caesars, Tim Hortons and others.

And major food sellers Nestlé and Tyson are introducing their own plant-based alternatives to meat.

Beyond is hoping that its iterative approach will help it keep its edge over the new competitors, who have deeper pockets and operate at a larger scale.

“I am maniacally focused on driving this business forward through innovation,” Brown said during a call with analysts discussing the company’s first quarter earnings results. “I have no distraction with an incumbent business, no concerns about upsetting my existing supply chain.”

The entrance of those big players “helps legitimize the space,” Beyond’s executive chair Seth Goldman told CNN Business, adding that in regard to competitors, “this is such a growing, expanding category, I believe there’s going to be room.”