Impossible foods along with its Silicon Valley staff of 125 are working on a vegan version of the traditional American Ground-beef patty. The goal of this feat is to act as a “Platform to disrupt” the meat industry. Brown the CEO and Co-Founder stated that Cows are an “inefficient technology” that require too many inputs to get the needed output. So his goal is to reverse engineer the beef patties taste, smell and texture into a efficient, delicious alternative that can eventually replace the patty.
“The whole mission of this company is to make eating animals unnecessary” said Brown, “So, we don’t want our product to just be delicious, we want it to be as delicious as meat.”
Impossible foods was created back in 2011 by CEO and Co-Founder Patrick O. Brown. Since its inception, Impossible foods has been able to amass over $182 million in funding, making it one of the most funded food start ups of the decade.
Brown said he would never label the product as a “veggie burger”, which instills a thought of frozen dry patties made from beans and grains. The impossible foods patty is a combination of amino acids, protein fats and and vitamins that have been derived from coconuts, roots of soybean plants, potatoes and other plant sources to mimic a meat like texture and taste.
Animal farming has long been viewed as one of the most environmentally destructive processes. It takes up a third of the planets land and fresh water supply. Millions of trees are destroyed and the greenhouse gasses that are emitted contribute greatly to global warming. Brown has attested that “We’re getting into this very scary unstable area where we’ve never gone before in terms of pushing the boundaries of a stable planetary system,” and that it is analogous to us driving toward the edge of cliff with our foot fully on the accelerator pedal, and nobody is doing anything to solve the problem. This Brown said, is his motivation behind impossible foods, to solve a problem that he thinks people are aware of but are not doing anything about it.
With that said there are a few companies out there that have seemingly attempted to solve the issue. “Beyond Meat” sells packaged meatless chicken, meatballs and other products. Other companies have made dairy free products and meatless products sold in packaged pouches. Impossible foods however, is the only company that intends to sell its product raw that needs to be cooked for consumption.
“It’s the single biggest category of meat in the U.S.,” Brown says. “We never thought about launching with some feeble, easy, low-impact thing.” Brown is has been a vegan for the past 40 years, and wants to emulate the very food that he has avoided. “We can have a successful product that would sell to people who are looking for meat alternatives,”
The way impossible foods patties differ from others in the market is that it is made to resemble meat in every aspect. Heme is what makes meat taste meaty and bleed. Brown said that from all of his years as a biochemist he knew that nitrogen rich legumes – like soybeans and clovers have a high content of heme. What was surprising to him was that nobody ever tried to isolate heme for flavoring purposes.
This coming July Impossible Foods will be distributing its patties for public consumption. Jardinière a San Francisco restaurant and a few smaller restaurants in New York will be one of the first to begin selling the burgers. There production will be limited until the Oakland manufacturing plant can ramp up production in the coming years.