The vegan Impossible Foods burger that “bleeds” like a beef burger will make its retail debut in 2019, the company announced on Instagram today.
The post said “see you in line” with a grocery cart as the image and accompanying emoji. No retailers were named as part of the launch. But if Impossible Foods’ track record is an indicator, it’s likely to be a major retailer such as Kroger or Target.
Until now the burger has only been available in restaurants and food service outlets. It made headlines earlier this year when fast-food chain White Castle launched an Impossible Slider. The burger has become a hit for the chain, with locations selling hundreds per day. Support from members of the New York-based rap group the Wu-Tang Clan helped further position the burger to a young audience.
Bay Area-based Impossible Foods was founded by Stanford professor emeritus, Pat Brown. The company recently relocated to a facility where it’s now producing over 500,000 pounds of the vegan meat every month. But the facility has the capacity to produce over a million pounds of the meat every month. The move to retail is likely to push its production toward the million-pound mark.
Like its closest competitor the Beyond Meat Beyond Burger, the Impossible Burger “bleeds.” It uses heme, a substance sourced from the root of the soybean plant, to create the bleeding factor and meaty-like texture.
Impossible Foods was heavily criticized by a number of animal rights organizations including PETA after it submitted its ingredients to animal testing recommended by the FDA for GRAS status consideration. The GRAS status (“generally recognized as safe”) was necessary, the company said, because of the novel heme ingredient. More than 180 rats were killed for the test. While not mandatory, it’s a recommended procedure for new or rare ingredients.
“The core of Impossible Foods’ mission is to eliminate exploitation of animals in the food system and to reduce the enormous destructive impact of the animal farming and fishing industries on the environment, including wildlife and the ecosystems they depend on,” Brown said in a statement after the testing in 2017.
Brown maintains that it was a difficult decision for the brand, but in the long run, assuring millions of consumers that the plant-based meat is indeed safe–and the company says, safer for humans than consuming meat and safer for the environment impacted by meat production–the decision was critical.
“Avoiding the dilemma was not an option,” Brown said. “We hope we will never have to face such a choice again, but choosing the option that advances the greater good is more important to us than ideological purity.”
Become a CLUBKINDLY member today!