Why Is Impossible Foods So Successful?
Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019
In-line with the free-from food trend, the APFI team speaks to Jordan Sadowsky, Director of International Launches, Impossible Foods, to gather insight on the success of the company’s meatless patties in the region.
What was the motivation behind researching and producing a meat-free burger?
At Impossible Foods, our mission is to transform the global food system to support the planet and growing human population. Animal agriculture occupies nearly half of the world’s land, and raising livestock for food is responsible for 15 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and consumes 25 percent of the world’s fresh water, making it one of the greatest threats to wildlife and biodiversity. Reducing the use of animals for food will liberate land and water and go a substantial way towards mitigating climate change.
We started with a ground beef alternative to directly address the fact that cattle farming has by far the biggest environmental impact compared to other livestock. However our aim is to replace animals as a food production technology, starting with the Impossible Burger and expanding to a range of delicious products in the future, including pork, chicken, fish and dairy, and provide consumers with foods they love that are good for both people and the planet. Plant-based meats will play a vital role in solving one of the planet’s most pressing challenges: sustainably feeding the 9.7 billion in 2050 while consuming far less of the earth’s precious resources.
What differentiates us from other companies is our technology platform. The Impossible Burger is the product of multiple years of research to recreate the entire experience and science behind meat and how it tastes, cooks, sizzles and smells. The approach for many other brands is to create better veggie alternatives to meat and they mostly target vegans and vegetarians. We take a molecular approach to understanding the full experience of eating meat, and are targeting primarily meat-lovers with our produce.
Our first and most important discovery was heme, the magic ingredient that gives our burger its meaty taste and appearance. For more information on heme and how it recreates the meat flavour, and how we developed a scalable way to produce it, please see here.
If we were to lower the amount of animal meat consumed globally, greenhouse gas emissions would decrease, it would slow down deforestation and biodiversity loss, and free up grazing land and increase the amount of carbon stored through vegetation. As our Head of Impact summarises in this article, it would also reduce pressure on other climate mitigation efforts that require major infrastructure changes, such as renewable energy.
What are the factors you’d attribute to the success of Impossible Foods in Asia?
In Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau, we launched with fantastic restaurant partners and chefs that have really brought top notch Impossible dishes to the table, covering a wide range of cuisines. We’ve shown consumers that anything ground beef can do, Impossible can do. From the Impossible gyoza at Empress and Impossible Beef Wellington at Bread Street Kitchen, the Impossible Kheema Bao from Rang Mahal in Singapore to the Impossible Korean Dumplings from Jinjuu, Impossible Cheesesteak Sandwich from Questlove and Impossible Meat Bites from Dear Lilly in Hong Kong, the meat is versatile. We also decided to debut in Asia with some of the region’s top chefs as there was a huge opportunity for these culinary tastemakers to help us tell the story of Impossible Foods’ vision and long-term mission–in addition to wowing customers with delicious and innovative preparations of the product.
As Impossible Foods’ meat made from plants replicates the taste and texture of meat from animals, we’re able to target meat eaters, who are unwilling to give up the full sensory experience of eating ground beef from cows, but can now have that without compromise.
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