After years of speculation and digital chatter, Impossible Foods has finally announced that it plans to sell its “bleeding” Impossible Burger in grocery stores in the United States starting in 2019.
While the company has yet to provide further details about this retail launch, this announcement is sure to please its eager plant-based fanbase.
“By far the No. 1 message from fans on social media is, ‘When will I be able to buy and cook the Impossible Burger at home?’” said Impossible Foods’ CEO and Founder Dr. Patrick Brown. “We can’t wait until home chefs experience the magic and delight of the first plant-based meat that actually cooks and tastes like meat from animals–without any compromise.”
Additionally, the company has confirmed that Impossible Burgers are now available in about 5,000 restaurants in all 50 states . Since its founding by Patrick Brown in 2011, Impossible Foods has been able to grow its following through partnerships with notable restaurants like Momofuku Nishi and Cockscomb as well as gourmet burger chains including Fatburger and Umami Burger.
The decision to introduce its product via restaurants enabled the company to carefully increase its production capabilities while still generating awareness. Speculation of its retail debut increased after its September 2017 opening of a production facility in Oakland that can produce up to 500,000 pounds of Impossible Burger per month.
More recently, the company announced in September 2018 that its $1.99 Impossible Sliders would be rolling out to White Castle restaurants nationwide via a promotional film series starring longtime plant-based eaters RZA, GZA and Ghostface Killah of the Wu-Tang Clan. The company has similarly used celebrity in the past to generate awareness of its product through promotions like youth culture icon and rapper Jaden Smith’s Impossible Trio burgers.
With this retail announcement, Impossible Foods has confirmed that this seemingly explosive growth is indeed a reality. Since its founding in July 2016, Impossible Foods has sold 13 million Impossible Burgers through the aforementioned restaurant partnerships.
In a statement from Impossible Foods, the company notes that these sales figures have meaningful sustainability outcomes:
Those 13 million burgers translate to the weight of beef from more than 6,500 cows, the resources saved of a land area bigger than 25 Central Parks, the single-day water use of more than two million Americans, and greenhouse-gas emissions equivalent to driving the US from coast to coast 80,000 times.
Impossible Foods created its Impossible Burger with a mission to recreate the complete sensory experience of eating an animal-based burger, including its fatty mouthfeel, its iron taste and its bleeding. The Impossible Foods team was able to achieve this goal in part due to its engineered yeast, which replicates plant-based heme (leghemoglobin) molecules that make blood and meat red and gives it its savory flavor. In July 2018, the FDA officially approved the use of this key ingredient in its products.
Impossible Foods’ rising popularity is due in part to both rising consumer preferences for plant-based options, as well as scientific concern about the unsustainable meat production processes used to feed the masses today. The world’s population expected to grow to 9.7 billion by 2050 while meat consumption is predicted to increase by 73%, and 30% of the planet’s ice-free surface is already dedicated to animal production. Pat Brown’s Impossible Foods seeks to create animal-alternative products that are delicious and cost-friendly enough to influence consumer preferences as a means to solve these broad issues.
“Pat’s thesis was that if you want plant-based foods to be mainstream, you have to produce products that people really love eating, full stop,” added GV’s Andy Wheeler, who led Impossible Foods’ Series C round.