Impossible Foods has started selling its meat-analogue burgers, available nationwide in quick-service restaurants, in retail stores.
The retail debut of the plant-based substitute for ground meat took place in mid-September in outlets of Gelson’s, a chain of upscale Southern California grocery stores. A nationwide rollout followed shortly afterward.
Impossible Foods has chosen a reverse trajectory for distribution from its main rival, Beyond Meat. While Beyond rolled out in retail and then entered foodservice, the Impossible Burger debuted in restaurants, eventually reaching wide distribution in national chains including Red Robin, White Castle and Burger King.
Impossible’s retail rollout was delayed because it needed the FDA to put its key ingredient, soy leghemoglobin or “heme,” on the list of ingredients generally recognized as safe. Impossible’s products are made with heme produced by a patented bioengineered form of yeast, which gives the Impossible Burger the look and taste of a meat patty.
Demand for the Impossible Burger grew so fast that the company was overwhelmed, but this summer, the company reached an agreement with OSI Group to co-manufacture.