Impossible Foods

Page semi-protected
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Impossible Foods
Company typePrivate
Founded2011; 13 years ago (2011)
FounderPatrick O. Brown
HeadquartersRedwood City, California, US
Key people
Dennis Woodside (President)[1]
Peter McGuinness (CEO)[2]

Impossible Foods Inc. is a company that develops plant-based substitutes for meat products. The company's signature product, the Impossible Burger, was launched in July 2016 as a vegan alternative to beef hamburger. The primary ingredient of the Impossible Burger, and most of the company's product line, is Soy Protein Concentrate.

In partnership with Burger King, Impossible Whoppers were released across the United States by summer 2019. The company also makes plant-based sausage and chicken products.[3][4]

Company and product history

An Impossible Burger given out during a promotional event at a food truck in San Francisco in November 2016

Impossible Foods was founded by Patrick O. Brown in 2011.[5] In July 2016, the company launched its first meat analogue product, the Impossible Burger, which is made from material derived from plants.[6] The company says that making it uses 95% less land and 74% less water, and it emits about 87% less greenhouse gas than making a ground beef burger patty from cows.[7] The plant-based burger has more protein, less total fat, no cholesterol, and less food energy than a similar-sized hamburger patty made with beef.[8] It contains more sodium and more saturated fats than an unseasoned beef patty.[9] The Impossible Burger received Kosher certification in May 2018[10] and Halal certification in December 2018.[11]

On January 7, 2019, Impossible Foods introduced the Impossible Burger 2.0.[12] In July 2020, Impossible Burger patties became available at Trader Joe's and about 2,100 Walmart locations in the United States.[13]

Technology and food safety

Unlike most plant-based products intended to emulate meat, the Impossible Burger contains heme. Heme is the molecule that gives blood its red color and helps carry oxygen in living organisms.[14] Heme is abundant in animal muscle tissue and is also found naturally in all living organisms.[15] Plants, particularly nitrogen-fixing plants and legumes, also contain heme.[16] The plant-based heme molecule is identical to the heme molecule found in meat.[17][18]

To produce heme protein from non-animal sources, Impossible Foods selected the leghemoglobin molecule found naturally in the roots of soy plants.[19] To make it in large quantities, the company's scientists genetically engineered a yeast and used a fermentation process very similar to the brewing process used to make some types of beer.[20] In 2014, Impossible Foods declared leghemoglobin is generally recognized as safe after testing under FDA oversight,[21] and filed updates with the FDA in 2017 and 2018.[22] The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a "no questions" letter in July 2018, accepting the unanimous conclusion of a panel of food-safety experts that the protein that carries heme is safe to eat.[23] This acceptance letter was limited to products cooked in restaurants because soy leghemoglobin required safety review as a new food colorant for uncooked products.[24] An FDA rule change that accepted the colorant and allows the sale of Impossible Burgers in grocery stores took effect on September 4, 2019.[25]

LightLife, a brand of meat analogues, criticized its competitors Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods in an open letter published in The New York Times, asking that these companies reduce their use of "hyperprocessed" ingredients.[26] Impossible Foods responded by calling it a "disingenuous, desperate disinformation campaign".[27]

The Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), a nonprofit advocacy group that has received funding from the meat industry, has targeted Impossible Foods and other meat analogue producers through advertising, including a commercial during Super Bowl LIV, criticizing meat analogues for using additives. Impossible Foods quickly answered with a parody commercial.[28]

Production and availability

An Impossible Burger at Gott's Roadside in Napa in 2018

Impossible Burgers in restaurants

In 2016 and 2017, Impossible Foods produced Impossible Burgers in both Redwood City, California, and at Rutgers University in New Jersey.[29] Since the production was in relatively small quantities, the burgers were not available at retail locations.[30] Impossible Foods also worked on plant-based products that emulated chicken, pork, fish, and dairy,[31] but decided to concentrate on creating a substitute for the ground beef in burger patties.[32]

The restaurant Momofuku Nishi in New York, owned by David Chang, began serving the Impossible Burger in July 2016.[33] In October 2016, the Impossible Burger became a standing menu item in selected additional restaurants in California,[34] such as Jardinière and Cockscomb in San Francisco, and Crossroads Kitchen in Los Angeles.[35] The Michelin-starred restaurant Public, operated by Brad Farmerie, began serving the Impossible Burger in January 2017.[36]

In March 2017, Impossible Foods announced it would build its first large-scale plant in Oakland, California, to produce 1 million pounds of plant-based burger meat per month.[34] In the first half of 2017, the Impossible Burger debuted on the menu of multi-unit franchises including Bareburger in New York City,[37] Umami Burger in California,[38] and Hopdoddy in Texas.[39] In April 2018, White Castle started serving Impossible Burgers. The partnership with White Castle eventually expanded to include all 377 of its locations.[40]

By July 2018, two years after its debut in New York, the Impossible Burger was available at about 3,000 locations in the United States and Hong Kong.[41] By the end of 2018, 5,000 restaurants across all 50 states included the burger on their menus.[42]

The Impossible Whopper, sold at Burger King

In April 2019, Burger King began test marketing an Impossible Whopper using the patty at locations around St. Louis.[43] Later that month, the company announced plans to roll out Impossible Whoppers nationwide before the end of the year.[44] In August, it was officially made available nationwide.[45]

Impossible Burger retail

The Impossible Burger became available in grocery stores for the first time in October 2019, at Gelson's stores, which are only in Southern California.[46] As of May 2020, Impossible Burgers were also available at Fairway Market, Wegman's, Jewel-Osco, Vons, Pavilions, Albertsons in California and Nevada, Safeway in California and Nevada, and various chains owned by Kroger.[47] In April 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, the FDA started allowing restaurants to sell Impossible beef substitute to consumers, with an additional printed-out sheet satisfying label requirements.[48]


In May 2019, Little Caesars began testing the Impossible Supreme pizza in Florida, New Mexico, and Washington state. The pizza featured Impossible Foods' first plant-based sausage product, which CEO Patrick Brown claimed had involved the development of 50 prototype sausage products before Little Caesars began offering it to the public.[49] Impossible sausage sandwiches are being sold at many restaurants, including Burger King and Starbucks.[50]


Plant-based chicken nuggets made by Impossible Foods

Impossible Foods has raised rounds of $75 million and $108 million from investors including Google Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Viking Global Investors, UBS,[51] Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing's Horizons Ventures, and Bill Gates.[52] It was reported that Patrick Brown had turned down an offer of $300 million to buy out Impossible Foods in 2015.[32][53]

In August 2017, $75 million in additional financing was raised after reaching key objectives,[54] with Bill Gates investing additional money.[55] In April 2018, an additional $114 million was raised, led by Singapore’s Temasek Holdings and Hong Kong-based Sailing Capital, bringing the total to $372 million.[56] In May 2019, the company raised $300 million of investment.[57] The total valuation of the company raised to $2 billion.[58] On March 16, 2020, another $500 million was raised.[59]

In total, Impossible Foods has raised $1.3 billion over 12 rounds of funding.[60][61] In August 2020, the company raised another US$200 million in an internal round led by existing investor Coatue.[62]

See also


  1. ^ "Impossible Foods Names Dennis Woodside As President". Restaurant News Resource. Mar 18, 2019. Archived from the original on March 20, 2019. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
  2. ^ "About Impossible Foods". Retrieved 3 September 2022.
  3. ^ Piper, Kelsey (2019-05-20). "Little Caesars is the latest chain where you can try out meatless meat". Vox. Archived from the original on 2020-01-29. Retrieved 2020-01-29.
  4. ^ "Impossible Foods Dishes Up Its First Meatless Sausage Atop Little Caesars' Pizza". Fortune. Archived from the original on 2020-01-29. Retrieved 2020-01-29.
  5. ^ Loizos, Connie (7 October 2015). "Impossible Foods Raises a Whopping $108 Million For Its Plant-Based Burgers". TechCrunch. Archived from the original on 2015-10-07. Retrieved 2015-10-07.
  6. ^ Mic. "The Veggie Burger of the Future Cost $80M to Invent – And Carnivores Will Be Impressed". Archived from the original on 2016-08-16. Retrieved 2016-07-27.
  7. ^ "Sandwich of the Week, USA Today". 2016-09-06. Archived from the original on 2016-10-02. Retrieved 2016-09-29.
  8. ^ Hoshaw, Lindsey (June 21, 2016). "Silicon Valley's Bloody Plant Burger Smells, Tastes And Sizzles Like Meat". NPR. Archived from the original on 2016-07-27. Retrieved 2016-07-28.
  9. ^ Lemonier, Gabrielle. "Great-Tasting Veggie Burgers are Here, But Are They Any Healthier?". Men's Journal. Archived from the original on 2017-04-19. Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  10. ^ "Impossible Burger: Now Kosher!". Orthodox Union. 5 June 2018. Archived from the original on 16 February 2019. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  11. ^ Versano, Carlo (10 December 2018). "Impossible Foods Gets Halal Certification for Meatless Burger on Path to 'Serve the World'". Cheddar. Archived from the original on 28 December 2018. Retrieved 27 December 2018.
  12. ^ Starostinetskaya, Anna (7 January 2019). "Impossible Foods unveils Impossible Burger 2.0". VegNews. Archived from the original on 8 January 2019. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  13. ^ "Impossible Burger Now Available at 8,000 Retailers Including Walmart, Trader Joe's". Archived from the original on 2020-08-28. Retrieved 2020-08-22.
  14. ^ "Heme and non-heme in Iron". The Nutrition Source, TH Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University. 2020. Archived from the original on 2020-10-27. Retrieved 2020-10-24.
  15. ^ Hamza, I; Dailey, HA (2012). "One ring to rule them all: Trafficking of heme and heme synthesis intermediates in the metazoans". Biochim Biophys Acta. 1823 (9): 1617–1632. doi:10.1016/j.bbamcr.2012.04.009. PMC 3412874. PMID 22575458.
  16. ^ "This New Veggie Burger Bleeds Like Meat". ScienceAlert. 9 October 2014. Archived from the original on 2017-08-30. Retrieved 2017-08-29.
  17. ^ "Serving up a bloody veggie burger is the trick to convincing carnivores". Inverse. Archived from the original on 2016-10-01. Retrieved 2016-09-29.
  18. ^ "Hemoglobin and myoglobin". The Medical Biochemistry Page. 2020. Archived from the original on 2017-08-30. Retrieved 2017-08-29.
  19. ^ Lindsey Hoshaw (21 June 2016). "Silicon Valley's Bloody Plant Burger Smells, Tastes And Sizzles Like Meat". NPR. Archived from the original on 12 January 2018. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  20. ^ "A veggie burger that 'bleeds' might convince some carnivores to eat green". Public Radio International "The World". 2016-09-23. Archived from the original on 2016-09-26. Retrieved 2016-09-29.
  21. ^ "GRAS Notification for Soybean Leghemoglobin Protein Derived from Pichia pastoris" (PDF). Food and Drug Administration. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2017-10-31. Retrieved 2017-08-29.
  22. ^ Dennis M Keefe (18 October 2017). "FDA letter: GRAS Notice No. GRN 000737". FDA. Archived from the original on 1 August 2019. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  23. ^ Ariel Shapiro (2018-07-24). "Key ingredient in 'Impossible Burger' approved by FDA". CNBC. Archived from the original on 2018-08-22. Retrieved 2018-08-22.
  24. ^ Deena Shankar (31 July 2019). "Impossible Burger could be sold in stores after FDA approves coloring". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2019-08-01. Retrieved 2019-08-01.
  25. ^ Andrew Liszewski (1 August 2019). "The FDA Has Finally Approved the Impossible Burger to Be Sold at Grocery Stores". GizModo. Archived from the original on 1 August 2019. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  26. ^ "Lightlife urges Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat to clean up their labels". Food Dive. Archived from the original on 2020-10-26. Retrieved 2020-10-24.
  27. ^ "Impossible Foods hits back at 'disingenuous, desperate disinformation campaign' as Lightlife attacks 'hyperprocessed' ingredients". Archived from the original on 2020-09-28. Retrieved 2020-10-24.
  28. ^ Jiang, Irene. "Impossible Foods made a parody video about poop in beef in response to a Super Bowl ad attacking plant-based 'meat'". Business Insider. Archived from the original on 2020-10-14. Retrieved 2020-10-25.
  29. ^ Wang, Ucilia (2017-03-02). "Can Impossible Foods and its plant burgers take on the meat industry?". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 2017-04-17. Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  30. ^ "There's a secret ingredient in the plant-based meat Google wanted to buy for $200 million". Tech Insider. 2016-07-19. Archived from the original on 2016-10-02. Retrieved 2016-09-29.
  31. ^ "Bleeding veggie burgers hit restaurants for first time". The Memo. 2016-07-27. Archived from the original on 2016-08-17. Retrieved 2016-07-27.
  32. ^ a b Rufford, Nick (2017-04-16). "Can the Impossible burger save the world?". The Times. Archived from the original on 2017-04-19. Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  33. ^ "David Chang Adds Plant Based 'Impossible Burger' to Nishi Menu". 2016-07-26.[permanent dead link]
  34. ^ a b Robinson, Melia (2017-03-22). "A startup selling 'bloody' plant-based burgers has a new factory that can make 4 million burgers a month". Business Insider. Archived from the original on 2017-04-30. Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  35. ^ "The Impossible Burger's West Coast Debut and the Wild Frontier of Plant-Based Meat". Forbes. 2016-10-13. Archived from the original on 2017-08-14. Retrieved 2017-08-14.
  36. ^ "We Tried a Michelin Star Version of Silicon Valley's Plant Burger That Bleeds Like Beef". The New York Observer. 1 February 2017. Archived from the original on 8 June 2017. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  37. ^ Rainey, Clint (2 March 2017). "The Vegan Burger That 'Bleeds' Goes Mainstream at Bareburger". Grubstreet. Archived from the original on 2017-07-15. Retrieved 2017-07-12.
  38. ^ Pierson, David (17 May 2017). "Umami says its new veggie burger tastes like meat – and bleeds like meat". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2020-01-09. Retrieved 2020-02-20.
  39. ^ "You can now get Impossible Burger's". Archived from the original on 2017-08-15. Retrieved 2017-07-12.
  40. ^ Devenyns, Jessi (13 September 2018). "Impossible Burger goes to White Castle". Food Dive. Archived from the original on 13 September 2018. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  41. ^ "A Major Victory for the Impossible Burger, the Veggie 'Meat' that Bleeds". Wired. 2018-07-24. Archived from the original on 2018-07-24. Retrieved 2018-08-22.
  42. ^ EDT, Janice Williams On 5/25/19 at 3:10 AM (2019-05-25). "What is Impossible Burger and where can you get it?". Newsweek. Archived from the original on 2019-06-06. Retrieved 2019-06-06.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  43. ^ Lucas, Amelia (2019-04-01). "Burger King is testing vegetarian Whopper made with Impossible Burger". CNBC. Archived from the original on 2020-12-12. Retrieved 2019-04-01.
  44. ^ Tyko, Kelly (2019-04-29). "Burger King plans to release plant-based Impossible Whopper nationwide by end of year". Archived from the original on 2019-09-14. Retrieved 2019-04-30.
  45. ^ Limitone, Julia (August 23, 2019). "Impossible Burger prank becomes Burger King feeding frenzy". FOXBusiness. Archived from the original on December 8, 2020. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  46. ^ "Impossible Burger Becomes No. 1 Item Sold at Grocery Stores". October 2019. Archived from the original on 2020-05-06. Retrieved 2020-05-06.
  47. ^ "Impossible Foods Accelerates Brick-and-Mortar and Online Retail Expansion With The Kroger Co".
  48. ^ Lamb, Catherine (6 April 2020). "Restaurants Can Now Sell Impossible Foods' "Beef" Directly to Customers". The Spoon. Archived from the original on 2020-05-26. Retrieved 2020-05-06.
  49. ^ Wiener-Bronner, Danielle (20 May 2019). "Little Caesars is testing out an Impossible pizza". CNN. Archived from the original on 2019-05-20. Retrieved 2019-05-21.
  50. ^ "Where to get Impossible Sausage: Starbucks, Burger King, local restaurants". Cnet. Archived from the original on 2020-07-28. Retrieved 2020-07-28.
  51. ^ "Forget Lab Beef, Impossible Foods' 100% Plant-Based Cheeseburger Is Our Future". Motherboard. Archived from the original on 2015-10-09. Retrieved 2015-10-07.
  52. ^ Katie Fehrenbacher (2014-10-08). "Meet Impossible Foods, another VC-backed veggie meat startup". Gigaom. Archived from the original on 2015-09-11. Retrieved 2015-07-29.
  53. ^ Clements, Lana (2015-07-28). "Google tries to buy vegetarian burger business". Express. Archived from the original on 2017-04-19. Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  54. ^ *"Impossible Foods Closes a $75 Million Investment After Achieving Key Milestones". August 2017. Archived from the original on 2017-09-27. Retrieved 2017-09-27.
  55. ^ "Impossible Foods closes $75M funding round". Archived from the original on 2017-09-27. Retrieved 2017-09-27.
  56. ^ "Temasek co-leads $114m investment in Asia-bound Impossible Foods". Archived from the original on 2018-04-04. Retrieved 2018-04-04.
  57. ^ "Daily Crunch: Impossible Foods raises $300M". TechCrunch. 14 May 2019. Archived from the original on 2021-04-27. Retrieved 2019-05-15.
  58. ^ "Exclusive: Impossible Foods raises $300 million with investors..." Reuters. 2019-05-13. Archived from the original on 2019-06-02. Retrieved 2019-06-06.
  59. ^ Anirban Sen and Joshua Franklin (17 March 2020). "Exclusive: Impossible Foods explores credit line to tackle coronavirus fallout – sources". SRN News. Archived from the original on 27 April 2021. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  60. ^ "Impossible Foods". Growjo. Archived from the original on 27 November 2020. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
  61. ^ Shieber, Jonathan (16 March 2020). "Impossible Foods confirms $500 million fundraising, has raised $1.3 billion in total". TechCrunch. Archived from the original on 28 September 2020. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  62. ^ Johnson, Robert (August 14, 2020). "Impossible Foods model of Monopoly Capitalism raises another 200m". Pre IPO Swap. Pre IPO Swap. Archived from the original on 27 November 2020. Retrieved 17 November 2020.

External links