“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.”
Impossible Foods – which has raised a jaw-dropping amount of money ($450m in debt and equity) – says the Impossible Burger (which debuted in high-end restaurant Momofuku Nishi in New York City in July 2016) is now served at about 5,000+ restaurants in the US from White Castle to Fatburger, and about 100 restaurants in Hong Kong and Macau.
On a mission to ‘not only match, but outperform meat from animals in taste, nutrition and value’
The Redwood City, CA-based company – which is gearing up to start a second shift at its Oakland production facility that will double production of its plant-based Impossible Burger by the year-end, is also planning a second factory at an undisclosed location as it seeks to “not only match, but outperform meat from animals in taste, nutrition and value.”
In recent blind tests with meat-eating consumers, half preferred the Impossible Burger, “a big improvement from less than 10% five years ago,” said Dr Brown, a Stanford biochemist and genomics expert who has described industrialized meat production as "the most destructive technology on Earth.
“By the end of 2018, our goal is beat burgers made from cows decisively in blind taste tests.”
“People don’t eat meat because they like the fact that animals are slaughtered, they eat it in spite of that. No one eats meat because they’re happy an animal was slaughtered.” Read more HERE
Celeste Holz-Schietinger, PhD, director of research, Impossible Foods
We’re not going to solve this problem by pleading with consumers to eat beans and tofu instead of meat and fish
Despite a growing recognition that animal agriculture is environmentally problematic, the global demand for animal-derived food is surging, according to Impossible Foods' 2018 Impact Report:
“We’re not going to solve this problem by pleading with consumers to eat beans and tofu instead of meat and fish. We need to solve this problem another way — not by guilting consumers into changing their diets, but by making delicious, nutritious and sustainable meats that are better than the meats from inefficient, animal-based technology.
“The surest strategy for replacing the most destructive technology on Earth is to deliberately create foods that deliver greater pleasure and value to consumers of meat, fish and dairy foods, then simply offer them as a choice, and let market demand take care of the rest.”
At Impossible Foods, the key components of meat have been identified, characterized and sourced from plants such as soy, wheat and potatoes, and processed using high-moisture extrusion and other techniques in order to meet precise functional, taste and textural criteria.
However, the secret sauce is ‘heme’, a molecule that’s “super abundant” in animal muscle. This is sourced from leghemoglobin, a protein found in nodules attached to the roots of nitrogen-fixing plants such as soy that is similar to myoglobin and hemoglobin (which make blood look red).
While you could technically extract leghemoglobin from root nodules, it’s not commercially viable or environmentally sound to do that at scale, so Impossible Foods is producing it via a genetically engineered yeast – the DNA of which has been retooled to produce leghemoglobin. This feeds on sugar from undisclosed ‘plant materials’ and produces leghemoglobin with a fraction of the environment footprint of field-grown soy. The final product contains no live yeast.
Impossible Burger ingredients list: Water, Textured Wheat Protein, Coconut Oil, Potato Protein, Natural Flavors, 2% or less of: Leghemoglobin (soy), Yeast Extract, Salt, Soy Protein Isolate, Konjac Gum, Xanthan Gum, Thiamin (Vitamin B1), Zinc, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12.