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Plant-based food tech Impossible Foods is making waves this week, announcing just shortly after launching retail in Asia for the first time that it is now planning to double the size of its Silicon Valley-based R&D team. Over the coming year, the startup wants to develop more plant-based alternatives for the mainstream market, from fish to dairy milk, in order to displace the animal agriculture industry. In addition, the company has revealed a new “Impossible Investigator” project, which aims to attract the world’s top scientists to create a “new technology platform to replace animals”.
Raising around US$1.5 billion since its inception in 2011, including two impressive Series F and Series G rounds amid a pandemic this year totalling US$700 million, Impossible Foods now says it will set aside a significant portion of its funds to expand its R&D team and technology platform. Over the next six to 12 months, the company says that R&D will receive the biggest share of its investment of any other department. Under the plan, the R&D team will double in size with 50 immediate openings for scientists, engineers and experts and more to come over the coming months.
In addition, the Silicon Valley startup is going to launch an “Impossible Investigator” project, which will see 10 new positions opened for the world’s best scientists who will gain access to Impossible’s resources and facilities to create an “entirely new technology platform” to displace animal agriculture – one of the biggest drivers of climate change.
The Impossible Investigator program is an opportunity for scientists and engineers in or on the threshold of an academic career to choose another path with the biggest positive impact on humanity and our planet: using science to eliminate the most urgent existential threat we face.Pat Brown, Founder & CEO, Impossible Foods
“Scientists want to solve the world’s biggest challenges. And the greatest problem we face today is our reliance on animal agriculture – the most destructive technology on Earth,” said Patrick Brown, founder and CEO of Impossible Foods.
“The Impossible Investigator program is an opportunity for scientists and engineers in or on the threshold of an academic career to choose another path with the biggest positive impact on humanity and our planet: using science to eliminate the most urgent existential threat we face.”
More specifically, Impossible’s R&D investment will be geared towards expanding its product line-up, including alternatives for all categories animal-based foods. Among the products highlighted in the company’s press release is plant-based milk and fish, an indicator of the direction that the food tech plans to take. Other scientific endeavours that scientists may work on include improving the supply chain of plant protein ingredients, such as ideas on novel crops and new agricultural practices.
During a virtual press conference on the news, Impossible Foods also revealed a first prototype of its plant-based milk alternative, which according to a Gizmodo report can be whipped into a foam, mixes well with hot liquids like coffee and can be substituted for any recipe that calls for dairy milk.
Scientists want to solve the world’s biggest challenges. And the greatest problem we face today is our reliance on animal agriculture – the most destructive technology on Earth.Pat Brown, Founder & CEO, Impossible Foods
“We intend to make Impossible Foods the premier ‘planetary technology company’ – the place for brilliant scientists to have that freedom to conduct the most cutting-edge experiments and bring to life world-changing inventions, with the potential to immediately scale their real-world impact and without the hassles and distractions of academia,” said Brown.
This announcement came just shortly after Impossible’s official foray into the Asian retail market, launching its Impossible Beef product across nearly 200 grocery locations across Hong Kong and Singapore. In the weeks prior, the company again made headlines for an Asia-first debut of its Impossible Sausage product in a citywide partnership with Starbucks Hong Kong and collaborating restaurants.
Lead image courtesy of Fortune.