The Impossible Burger entered West Coast retail stores on Sept. 20 including Gelson’s Markets in Southern California, and made its East Coast debut on Sept. 25 at all 100 outlets of Wegmans, and two Fairway locations in New York City.
Since its retail debut, the Impossible Burger has remained the No. 1 packaged item sold at Gelson’s 27 stores and the top single item sold in Fairway’s meat department at its two select New York City locations.
Sold in meat aisles and meatless protein sections – depending on the retailer – Impossible Foods’ plant-based Impossible Burger has 0mg cholesterol, 14g of total fat, 8g saturated fats, and 240 calories per 4oz serving, according to the company which says its burger has as much bioavailable iron and protein as a comparable serving of ground beef from cows.
During its first full weekend on store shelves in Southern California, Impossible Burger outsold by more than six times the No. 2 most popular standalone SKU.
At $8.99 per 12-ounce package, Impossible Burger buyers spent 72% more than the average shopper per store visit and typically added brioche buns, cheddar cheese slices, and marinara sauce to their shopping carts, according to Impossible Foods.
“No one could have predicted this level of pent-up demand for Impossible Burger,” said John Bagan, Gelson’s chief merchandising officer.
“We had die-hard Impossible fans buying 10 packages at a time, and we saw a record number of new customers who have never shopped Gelson’s before. It’s the biggest product launch we've ever had.”
Due to strong shopper demand, Gelson’s imposed a 10-pack limit for the Impossible Burger.
Tech exec hiring spree continues
Leading Impossible Foods’ push into retail is tech industry veteran Dan Greene, the company’s new senior vice president of US sales.
Greene previously held executive positions at Twitter and Google and will now help Impossible Foods’ scale up in foodservice (which sells to restaurants, universities, theme parks, stadiums, and other outlets) and retail segments.
“Impossible Foods is the hottest startup in the world -- and it’s thrilling to join this company as it launches into retail and scales up production and capacity to become ubiquitous. It’s also an incredible opportunity to not only build a great business but have a profound impact on our world and our environment at the same time,” Greene said.
Impossible Foods leadership team also includes Dennis Woodside as president, who served as chief operating officer at Dropbox and CEO at Motorola Mobility (after its acquisition by Google), and Sheetal Shah, who joined the company in May after holding leadership positions at Verifone and Motorola Mobility.
Ramping up production
Impossible Foods has accelerated production of its plant-based burger through a co-manufacturing partnership with global food provider OSI Group, adding short-term capacity to Impossible Foods’ plant in Oakland, California. Impossible Foods has doubled its headcount at its Oakland plant and said it will continue to hire additional employees.
OSI, which has more than 65 facilities in 17 countries, will continue to expand production throughout 2019 and after.
Impossible Burger will debut in additional retail outlets as the food tech startup increases production and continues to expand its sales team.