Plant-based technology company Impossible Foods says it is capable of producing mind-boggling plant-based meat that delivers a completely novel eating experience that falls outside of the traditional animals used for food. “We can create things that would be unmistakably meat, flavor, and texture, but unlike anything that you’ve had before in that category,” Impossible Foods CEO Pat Brown, MD told The Verge. “Because after all, the choices of meat that are available in the world today are basically a historical artifact of the species that people were able to domesticate 10,000 years ago. And they weren’t chosen because they were the most delicious animals on earth. They were chosen because they were capable of being domesticated. So, yes, there is a lot of possibility for creating, let’s say, flavors that would deliver as meat but are unlike anything on the market.”
The mission-driven company’s flagship product, the Impossible Burger, was created to directly displace ground beef and is doing so in the form of the Impossible Whopper on Burger King menus nationwide. The company’s newest product, Impossible Pork, is specifically formulated as a replacement for pig meat and is also being tested at select Burger King locations as part of the Impossible Croissan’wich.
While the idea of creating a completely new meat—which does not displace the demand for animal flesh—to entice consumers is possible, Brown is laser-focused on fixing the current food system first. The company recently secured an additional $500 million in investment capital and is working on a wide variety of indistinguishable alternatives to animal products—such as fish, shrimp, dairy, and even whole beef cuts such as rib eye—with the goal of replacing all animals in the food system by 2035. “But in the future, I think there are a lot of ways in which I think we can have a lot more fun and create a diversity of flavors and textures and so forth,” Brown said. “But we don’t want our sales to be supplementary to existing meat sales. We want them to be at the expense of existing meat sales.”
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