Since the Impossible Burger’s debut on the meat-centric menu of restaurateur David Chang’s Momofuku Nishi, Impossible Foods’ premier product has continued to gain momentum. Every day, hungry customers would line up outside Momofuku Nishi waiting to get a taste of the vegan “burger that bleeds.” Thanks to an innovative combination of wheat and potato protein, coconut oil, and heme, an iron-rich compound, the Impossible Burger is closer to the real thing than any other burger. No matter if they were vegan, vegetarian, or meat-eater — everyone wanted to experience how true to the taste and texture of a beef patty the Impossible Burger truly was.
Shortly after, the Impossible Burger was added to the menu of several high-end restaurants, each with their own interpretation of how to serve it. Most recently, Bareburger, an organic restaurant chain with 44 locations in five countries, added the Impossible Burger at one of their NYC locations with plans to expand to other U.S. locations, offering a customizable experience and bringing the meat-free burger that tastes like the real thing even closer to mainstream consumers. Bareburger CEO and co-founder Euripides Pelekanos told Fortune that unlike other vegan burgers, the Impossible Burger is “geared toward meat eaters,” continuing, “It’s not going to live as [a] veggie burger on the menu. It’s going to live side-by-side with the beef burger.” At a time when more people than ever are cutting back on meat consumption, the plant-based Impossible Burger is giving consumers something that has been missing up until now: a meatless option that is practically indistinguishable from the real thing.
However, the success of the Impossible Burger at high-end restaurants was only the beginning. Rather than settle for being the sole vegan burger option, Impossible Foods’ CEO Patrick Brown is looking to make the burger that bleeds the new norm at every burger chain. And now, a future where even more Americans can pick up the Impossible Burger from a local restaurant is closer than most of us thought possible. Impossible Foods just cut the ribbon on a large-scale production facility located in Oakland, California.
As reported by The Good Food Institute, the facility will allow Impossible Foods to increase their production capacity from enough burgers to supply only eight restaurants to enough for 1,000 restaurants. That’s at least one million pounds of meatless meat per month (enough to make four million burgers), which is 250 percent more than their current capacity, according to a report by Yahoo! Finance. The entire game is about to change. But what makes this burger so different from the prepackaged veggie burgers we’re already familiar with?
In its “raw” form, the Impossible Burger looks no different from ground meat.
When cooked, it sizzles and sears like a real burger — right down to the crispy exterior.
Yet, the center remains pink and juicy — the nickname “the burger that bleeds,” isn’t just talk.
While true foodies will travel cross-country just to try the Impossible Burger, CEO Patrick Brown is on a greater mission: “In twenty years, we want to be producing more than half of the world’s supply of all of the foods we’re getting from animals. We need to grow on that scale because the problem we’re addressing [i.e., climate change] is so urgent.” Brown has also not ruled out bringing the Impossible Burger to grocery stores, stating that “there’s no reason we can’t choose to be everywhere.”
Not only is the new facility a huge leap in business for the six-year-old startup, but it is also indicative of a new era of food. This era is defined by more people choosing to leave meat off their plate in favor of plant-based options that taste just as good, if not better, than the real thing … and it’s already happening. Studies show that one-third of Americans are leaving meat off their plates more frequently, and the plant-based protein market is booming. The global plant-based meat market is projected to reach $5 billion by 2020 and plant-based protein could represent one-third of overall protein by 2054. Considering these plant-based alternatives do not come with the same health and environmental concerns that meat does, it’s pretty clear the future of protein is, indeed, plant-based.
Unlike the many veggie burger options that can be found in the frozen foods aisle at grocery stores and increasingly, the menus of most restaurants, Impossible Foods is not targeting vegan and vegetarians; they are actively reaching out to meat-eaters and as the opening of their new facility tells us, they are succeeding.
If you’re looking to cut back on meat and dairy, we highly recommend that you check out the Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone. With over 8,000 vegan recipes (and over 10 new recipes added daily), you’re going to find something you love!
In-text image source: The Good Food Institute
Lead image source: Impossible Foods/Facebook