The vegan burger giant is developing vegan milk that promises to taste just like dairy.
Impossible Foods has become synonymous with vegan burgers that look, cook, and taste just like the real thing. It brought the Impossible Whopper to Burger King and is on thousands of burger menus across the globe. Now, the food tech giant says it’s tackling dairy with a vegan milk product.
In a call with investors earlier this week, Impossible CEO Pat Brown said the Bay Area company is doubling its research efforts into vegan dairy. Impossible Foods has raised more than $700 million so far in 2020. The company revealed a dairy-free prototype on the call. It’s a product Impossible says will address the same market as its burgers — people who want the taste of the real thing without the ethical, environmental, or health sacrifices.
“We have made prototypes from a number of different plant sources,” Brown said on the call. He says, soy, an ingredient in the prototype, is “a very good choice from a nutritional standpoint and a supply chain standpoint, and for those reasons, I think there’s a decent chance that it will be the base protein for our product.”
Impossible’s vegan burgers are made with soy. It also launched a vegan pork product earlier this year that’s soy-based. The company is the first to identify a meaty, iron-mimicking component in the root of the soybean plant. It says this heme gives its meat an animal-like texture.
Disrupting Big Dairy
As flexitarian diets go mainstream, Impossible and its chief competitor, Beyond Meat, are leading the way. Both have been successful in a number of restaurant chains and supermarkets across the globe. But the demand for plant-based dairy alternatives is even greater at present than that of meat. According to the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA), sales of vegan milk and dairy products are skyrocketing; they now account for 14 percent of the total dairy category sales. Vegan meat makes up just 2 percent of meat sales.
Brown says the company is at the forefront of a monumental shift in the food industry. He set a 2035 target to “eliminate” animal agriculture completely. “The automobile replaced the horse in two decades; the digital camera replaced film in less than 10 years,” he told investors.