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Impossible Foods is the name of a plant-based meat company hoping to compete with firms selling traditional animal-based meat products. With potential meat shortages on the horizon, food consumers are more willing to give meat alternatives made by companies like Impossible Foods a try.
The company is part of the cultivated meat industry (which also includes lab-grown foods) that saw investments increase to $350 million dollars in 2020. This figure represents a six-fold increase over cultivated meat industry investments in 2019.
The Alternative Meat Industry Is Still In Early Stages
Impossible Foods points to a recent study by Blue Horizon Corporation and Boston Consulting Group that predicts North America will reach its peak meat consumption by 2025. The report indicates that the demand for meat will decrease after that time, and people will be more willing to consider alternatives.
The mission of Impossible Foods is to disrupt the demand for meat made from traditional animal products. The president of Impossible Foods, Dennis Woodside, feels hopeful that this report offers a realistic view of consumer attitude changes towards meat alternatives. He believes that educating people, including Gen Z, about the connection between eating meat and climate change will likely influence a change of diet. At the same time, he acknowledges that the alternative meat industry has a lot of work ahead if it wants to compete with the natural meat market that generates revenue of $1.2 trillion dollars each year.
The Success Of The Impossible Burger
One of the first deals Woodside completed after taking over the role of president two years ago was to close deals with Burger King, White Castle, and other fast-food restaurants. The expansion was successful, and the Impossible™ Burger soon appeared on the menus of 9,000 fast-food restaurants across the United States.
Fast-food customers’ love of the Impossible™ Burger resulted in a 50 percent increase in revenue for the first half of 2019. Unfortunately, Impossible Foods could not keep up with the demand, which led them to seek a partnership with OSI Group, a global food network with 65 locations in 18 countries.
As one of the world’s largest food producers, OSI Group stepped in to help Impossible Foods meet the skyrocketing demand for its meatless burger. One way it helped the company meet consumer demand was by adding short-term capacity to its processing plant in Oakland, California. The partnership with OSI Group has enabled Impossible Foods to expand the production of its flagship meatless burger product.
Challenges Of Competing With The Traditional Meat Market
After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Impossible Foods’ genetically engineered soy protein known as heme, the United States Center for Food Safety decided to challenge it. Without this necessary ingredient, the Impossible™ Burger cannot give the appearance of bleeding. Woodside also commented recently that the beef industry is working hard to promote doubt and fear about the alternative meat industry. However, Impossible Foods anticipated these actions and still feels that consumers will do the right thing and increasingly choose meatless alternatives.
Woodside would also like to see people become more aware of environmental issues caused by traditional farming. He feels that filmmakers can play a big role in helping to educate the public about the problem and potential solutions to it.
Impossible Foods Aims To Market Its Products To Children
Pat Brown is the founder and CEO of Impossible Foods who has been trying to get alternative meat products in front of children since 2014. Brown formerly worked as a pediatrician before becoming a scientist and launching Impossible Foods in 2011. He wanted to teach children about animal-free agriculture and help them connect the state of the environment and the foods they normally eat.
Brown feels that changing the way they eat is something every child can do. They can also influence their parents and grandparents to do the same. Impossible Foods makes it a point to engage with young people whenever possible. For Earth Day 2021, the company put out a video that showed kids how to speak to their older family members about the impact animal-based meat has on the environment. The company also released a kid-friendly article about global warming several weeks later.
Impossible Foods Recently Earned The Child Nutrition Label
In May 2021, the Department of Agriculture approved the Impossible™ Burger for the Child Nutrition Label. Impossible™ Sausage received the same designation in June 2021. Earning the label demonstrates that the product has undergone a rigorous process to prove it provides nutritional value in such a way that public schools can easily include these foods in their monthly menus.
Impossible Foods Vice President of Communications Jessica Appelgren was quick to point out that working with schools is not as profitable as some other sectors, and it is not a marketing campaign. Impossible Foods formed the connection because doing so matches the company’s values. The school partnership also makes it possible to involve Gen Z – and future generations – in environmental stewardship as early as possible.