Impossible Burger Debuts in Texas

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15 Jun 2017 --- Underbelly and The Hay Merchant are set to become the first Texas restaurants serving Impossible Foods' famous plant-based burger. The Impossible Burger will continue its Texas rollout throughout June, with plans to launch the plant-based burger in three of the state's largest cities. 

Award-winning Chef Chris Shepherd will debut the Impossible Burger at his Houston restaurants, the first time Impossible Foods' plant-based burger will be available in Texas.

The Impossible Burger is the world's only burger that looks, handles, smells, cooks and tastes like ground beef from cows -- but it's made entirely from plants, with a much smaller environmental footprint than meat from animals. It's the flagship product of Impossible Foods, a company dedicated to making the global food system sustainable.

Shepherd is an award-winning chef and leader in America's “whole animal” movement, which seeks to reduce waste and improve the environmental footprint of foods. His Houston restaurants are two of the most lauded and innovative dining concepts in America.

Shepherd said: “As soon as I heard about the Impossible burger, I knew I wanted it on my menus.”

Impossible Foods' production facility in Oakland will start making Impossible Burgers this summer and is on track to produce as much as 1 million pounds of plant-based meat per month when fully ramped up, within one year. The site has the capacity to make 250 times more Impossible Burgers than the startup is currently making in its headquarters in Redwood City, Calif., and at a small facility in New Jersey.

Impossible Foods plans to continue its rollout in Texas throughout June, debuting in several locations of an award-winning Texas-based chain. Impossible Foods also is planning to host burger bashes at many of these locations throughout Texas.

In addition to the Impossible Burger, the company is actively developing additional types of plant-based meats and dairy products.

Veggie Burgers go Mainstream
Impossible Foods’ claim to fame has been the successful creation of “plant blood.” This liquid makes a meat-free burger that not only looks like raw ground beef, but also bleeds on the grill in a similar manner to the all-time American iconic burger.

Predictions are gaining momentum that plant meat products use about 95 percent fewer resources than traditional farm raised livestock. Industrial scale feedlot meat production is probably the world’s largest environmental problem. Reducing meat consumption will free up vast amounts of land and water and alleviate the suffering of billions of animals. Ultimately, the lower commodity costs of plant origin food, including plant meat products, will contribute to a long stretch of food price deflation, when compared to the animal meat equivalent.

Healthier and more natural foods are a growing share of the $1.5 trillion spent annually by Americans to eat, as consumers demand products with less fat or cholesterol that are safer for the environment. Meat processors such as Tyson Foods Inc. and Maple Leaf Foods Inc. are investing in plant-based proteins as alternatives to pork, chicken and beef, while billionaire Bill Gates and venture capitalist Vinod Khosla say meatless meat is the food of the future.

Demand is shifting toward plant-based proteins made from lentils, quinoa, beans and peas as more shoppers see their buying decisions as impacting the environment and their own health, according to a January report from Sustainalytics, an Amsterdam-based corporate researcher. 

Annual global sales of plant-based substitute meat have gained 8 percent a year since 2010, to about $2 billion currently, and are growing at twice the rate of processed meat, according to an Oct. 18 report from Bloomberg Intelligence. The market for meat substitutes may grow 8.4 percent annually over the next five years, with China helping to speed the expansion as it seeks to cut meat consumption in half by 2030, according to estimates in the Sustainalytics report.

In the US, the transition is well underway.

Flexitarians Going Forward 
Vegetarianism appeals to a surprisingly small group of people – just 2 percent. The true growth of meat substitutes or plant meat foods comes from flexitarians. This group consciously eliminates or reduces animal meat from their daily line-up of food and plan meatless days a few times each week. Flexitarians are a rapidly growing consumer segment aiming for transformative change, albeit often driven by psychologically inclined aspects associated with animal welfare, health and wellbeing. 

Obstacles to Mass Adoption 
The road to concoct a “veggie burger” that is juicy and flavorful with the right texture, bite and chew is quite long and not easy to navigate. Fortunately, with the arrival of cellular agriculture, major development hurdles now can be successfully taken and – as a matter of fact – assembling certain compounds and ingredients from plants now allows for a level playing field, when compared to the legacy of animal meat formulated products. Even when plant meat foods reach a high degree of flavor, aroma and texture equivalency, still one major component is missing from the typical attributes of the burger: “blood.” Of course, there is no real blood in raw meat, but rather it is a combination of myoglobin and some extracellular water that creates the reddish looking meat juices.

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