Impossible Foods, maker of the world famous “bleeding” plant-based burger, is debuting two new meat-free products at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas: Impossible Pork and Impossible Sausage. The Silicon Valley-based startup, which has raised over US$ 700 million to date, will be giving away thousands of samples of their new product line this week, which has been developed alongside chefs and experts in Hong Kong and Singapore. Amid the African Swine Fever (ASF) epidemic that has swept up the region and caused severe pork shortages in China, the move is a strong indicator that Impossible Foods is on the lookout to quickly capitalise on the Chinese market.
Impossible Foods, the plant-based brand famed for their “bleeding” heme-iron filled vegan burgers, is adding pork to its menu with two new products: Impossible Pork and Impossible Sausage. The company has plans to dish out 25,000 samples of their new “Made from Plants” products at the CES in Las Vegas this week, and their sausages will be launched late January in a groundbreaking collaboration with 139 locations of the fast food giant Burger King across 5 test markets.
The Silicon Valley-based startup’s new minced pork and sausage products will be made from similar ingredients to their beef burger patty. Like the Impossible Burger, the company’s new pork products will use soy as the main ingredient and contains plant-based “heme” – an iron molecule derived from genetically-modified (GMO) yeast that gives Impossible’s products their iconic meaty look and flavour.
Commenting on the launch, Pat Brown, the CEO and founder of Impossible Foods said: “It is the natural follow-up for us…Pork is the number 1 consumed meat in the world.”
The move, which happens at a time when Asia is facing a significant pork shortage crisis due to the outbreak of African Swine Fever, clearly indicates that Impossible is keen to capitalise on the region’s markets. In November, reports predicted that almost a quarter of the global pig population will be wiped out. At the CES, Impossible will be showcasing its new plant-based pork products through a variety of Asian dishes, which will include the dim sum favourite siu mai, noodles, dumplings and bao “sandwiches”.
China, in particular, is where the company sees a large part of its business future. China is the world’s largest consumer of pork, and the ASF epidemic has wiped out at least half of China’s pig herd, driving up pork prices up dramatically. In late November last year, we Impossible held the first official tasting of their plant-based burgers on the mainland at Shanghai’s International Export Expo. At the event, Brown alluded to the company’s launch of a plant-based pork alternatives and their plans to double down on their commitment to China, telling the press that they are already “communicating with Chinese companies…[who] are very interested.”
Impossible’s pork products in China and the wider Asian region has a real potential to make an impact on our currently unsustainable consumption practices and broken food system. Scientists have been beating the drum about the environmental damage that the animal livestock industry has wreaked on our planet. Animal agriculture is accountable for 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions, which is more than all global transportation combined, according to the United Nations FAO. Rearing animals is additionally resource intensive, using vast amounts of water and land, and fertiliser and pesticide used in cultivating livestock feed contributes to severe contamination of our waterways and topsoil.
Looking ahead, Pat Brown expressed that Impossible will not just be stopping after developing vegan pork analogues to address the “two biggest threats to the world: climate change and the meltdown of biodiversity”. In a recent interview with MarketWatch ahead of the CES, Brown commented that consumers should expect the company to roll out more plant-based alternatives, from lamb to goat, fish and dairy in the near future.
With these new menu additions revealed, some are suspecting that Impossible Foods, which has already raised nearly US$800 million in venture investment to date, will be debuting an initial public offering (IPO) soon in their grand business plans. Last year, the company’s ultimate plant-based rival, Beyond Meat, launched their blockbuster IPO in May, which shattered world records.
All images courtesy of Impossible Foods.