Californian plant-based meat pioneer Impossible Foods is expanding its reach in Australia and New Zealand with retail distribution secured Woolworths and Countdown supermarkets. Consumers will now be able to purchase the world famous meat analogue directly from shop shelves.
The brand made inroads in November last year, securing foodservice partnerships in both countries. Two of Impossible’s flagship products, the burger patties and its ‘ground’ beef, will now be available at just over 1,000 stores in the region. Both products contain the company’s signature heme ingredient that gives Impossible its high fidelity meaty-ness.
Giving Australia what it wants
Woolworths has reportedly jumped on the opportunity to stock Impossible products in 800 of its stores, following success in foodservice channels, where consumers lapped up menu items powered by Impossible beef. Home cooks will be able to experiment with meat-free recipes.
“Our launch in Australia and New Zealand last November was a success because of our excellent restaurant partners who brought Impossible’s products to life,” Nick Halla, senior vice president of international at Impossible Foods said in a statement.
Not excluding New Zealand
200 Countdown supermarkets are now stocking Impossible products. The first foray into New Zealand came in the form of a partnership with Air New Zealand way back in 2018. Travellers in business class were able to enjoy the burgers on flights between Auckland and Los Angeles, prior to Covid-19 hitting. Approval for the heme ingredient was granted in December 2020, with restaurants in three locations adding the burgers to their menus at the end of 2021.
“As Impossible Foods’ goal is to create a truly sustainable global food system, its expansion into the home kitchens of Aussies and Kiwis is critical to achieving the company’s long-term mission,” a spokesperson for the company said in a statement.
Expansion alongside court action
News of Impossible’s expansion comes a few days after the company’s legal battle with court battle against Motif Foodworks for IP infringement was revealed, following the latter’s development of a heme ingredient called HEMAMI. Both are created in a similar way but use different base proteins. Motif denies the accusation of IP infringement and the case continues.
Accounting for meaty tastes
Both Australia and New Zealand are large consumers of animal foods, with some of the highest consumption levels in the world. Both also appear to have open minds when it comes to plant-based foods, vegan and flexitarian diets. The result is a number of domestic startups seeking to tap into the growing meat-free demographic.
In Australia, which was recently revealed to not play host to consumers confused by plant-based labelling, a lot is happening. Australian Plant Proteins just announced it is leading a project to quadruple the amount of meat-free protein manufactured in the south of the country. The news came two weeks after Woolworths’ venture capital fund W23 pledged an undisclosed multi-million amount to Sydney’s All G Foods. Fënn Foods recently announced a $3 million investment that will support company-wide expansion and honing of existing manufacturing processes.
In New Zealand, Sunfed just unveiled its latest raw beef analogue. Another release from its ‘bull-free’ range, the diced beef will be stocked in Countdown locations. The company is significant for more than developing a homegrown realistic alt-protein. It was one of APAC’s first movers within the industry and was founded and continues to be female-led. The dairy industry in New Zealand is being given a plant-based makeover as well, thanks to Daisy Lab. The precision fermentation startup is looking to create realistic products without the need for animal farming.
All photos by Impossible Foods.