Founder and CEO Dr Pat Brown explained: “For people that love the full experience of milk… the taste, the aroma, the texture, the plant-based milks that are out there are inadequate. If they weren’t, there wouldn’t be dairy cows anymore.
“Our intention is not just to make another plant-based milk to add to the shelf full of plant-based milks; it’s to make something that for a dairy milk lover is better than anything that comes from a cow. That’s an unsolved problem and it’s critical to our mission. So stay tuned, it’s going to be awesome.”
‘The proteins we are using are very stable’
Laura Kliman, principal scientist at Impossible Foods, did not clarify whether the company is using plants such as nuts, seeds or legumes, or whether it’s deploying microbial fermentation to make ‘real’ dairy proteins, but told attendees that the prototypes her team is offering consumers something that looks, tastes and functions just like cow’s milk.
She added: “Our functional milk prototypes are really creamy versus gritty and what the team really strives to do is not just create another soymilk or nutmilk, but products that taste and function just like the animal derived version. Clearly the appearance of our milk is much closer to cow’s milk.
“You can pour it into hot beverages without having it precipitate. It combines really nicely with coffee, you can froth it, and the proteins we’re using are very stable so you can make nice foams.”
But the team is “not going to launch a product until it’s at the same quality or even better than the animal derived version,” she cautioned. “This is just a demo, we’re not announcing any launch at this time.”
Rachel Konrad, chief communications officer, told FoodNavigator-USA in a follow up email that, "We aren’t talking right now about the specific ingredients or process."
But she added: "We can say that Impossible Milk demoed today is 100% plant-based."
'We’ve got a great prototype internally of an egg'
In addition to milk, the company is "working on all major categories of animal-derived foods, including steak and milk, fish, chicken and eggs. In fact, we’ve got a great prototype internally of an egg, and by that we mean a crackable egg, not a runny, yellow mixture," Konrad said.
‘The most important scientific and engineering project in history’
Asked about his prediction that animal agriculture would be rendered obsolete by 2025, Dr Brown said: “What we know from history is that if you have a technology that fundamentally outperforms the incumbent technology in delivering what consumers value, the trajectory can be very fast.
“Even the automobile replacing the horse, that pretty much took place in less than two decades... and the digital camera replaced the film camera that took place in less than a decade.”
Urging top-flight scientists to join his team, Dr Brown said Impossible Foods was working on the “most important scientific and engineering project in history.”
He added: “The only way to save our planet from environmental catastrophe is to invent and scale a new technology platform to replace by far the most destructive technology in human history … the animal products industry.
“We must use that platform to create foods that outperform, don’t just match, today’s animal-derived products in every way that matters to consumers: deliciousness, nutritional value, convenience, affordability and sustainability.”
“There has been a catastrophic collapse in global biodiversity and it’s almost entirely due to our use of animals as a food technology… and that may be an even direr threat to the future of our planet than climate change.” Dr Pat Brown, founder and CEO, Impossible Foods
In a press release accompanying the webinar, Impossible Foods said it is seeking 10 scientists for ‘Impossible Investigator’ positions that offer “high-impact alternatives to traditional academic faculty positions,” and that “present an unprecedented opportunity for scientists who want the facilities, resources and innovative environment to create an entirely new technology platform to replace animals as our technology for turning plants into meat, fish and dairy foods.”
Scientists seeking these positions – spanning disciplines from life sciences to engineering, data analysis, neurobiology or experimental psychology – can “propose anything from short-term strategies to accelerate the optimization of plant-based milk or steak or fish, to longer-term ideas for a vastly improved supply chain of plant proteins and other ingredients, including novel crops and agricultural practices.”
In addition to the Impossible Investigators, Impossible Foods also has about 50 immediate openings for scientists, engineers and other R&D professionals to join existing projects; with more to be posted throughout the end of the year and beyond.
For more details, visit Impossible Foods’ new R&D recruiting site, allsciencenobull.com.
FREE webinar Oct 28: Kids and the plant-based trend
Plant-based meat, dairy and egg products are gaining traction, from the next generation of burgers and nuggets to oat milk lattes.
But are these just for adults? Where is the opportunity in plant-based for kids, from a new generation of ‘hybrid’ products combining meat and plants, to new plant-based milks with added protein and DHA?
- Kyle Gaan, research analyst, The Good Food Institute
- Adam Lowry, co-founder and co-CEO, Ripple Foods
- Kristie Middleton, VP business development, Rebellyous Foods
- Hema Reddy founder and CEO, Crafty Counter (Wundernuggets)
- Marlena Hidlay, early life nutrition segment lead, DSM North America
- Mark Fahlin, business development manager, Cargill