Just in time for Burger King's national rollout of the Impossible Whopper, OSI Group, a large meat processor and supplier to McDonald’s, will start producing the meatless burger for Impossible Foods.
Burger King apparently was delighted with the April test-marketing of the meatless Whopper in St. Louis outlets, and this week confirmed that it will make the veggie burger available across the U.S. beginning Aug. 8.
Earlier this summer, Impossible Foods, which created the meatless burger, warned customers that it was having a hard time keeping up with demand. Even before the Burger King announcement, the Impossible Burger was in 10,000 restaurants around the world, including White Castle, Red Robin, Bar Louie and Houlihan's. Impossible Foods has a single plant in Oakland, Calif
But this week also brought the announcement that OSI, a $6 billion global meat processor, will begin producing Impossible Burgers at multiple OSI plants this month, doubling Impossible Foods' production.
OSI has more than 65 facilities in 17 countries. While it has no brands of its own, OSI has excelled as a contract manufacturer for a number of companies, and in 1955 became McDonald’s first supplier of fresh ground beef.
This will be OSI's first foray into analogue products. “Expanding into alternative proteins is an addition to our company’s product offering, not a replacement," OSI President and Chief Operating Officer David McDonald said.
In addition to those 10,000 restaurants worldwide, the Impossible Burger for the first time will be available in grocery stores. The company on July 23 received FDA acceptance of its “generally recognized as safe,” or GRAS, petition. The FDA letter was required because soy leghemoglobin, a key ingredient in the Impossible Burger, was not previously considered GRAS.
The company was one of our five "Food Industry Disruptors."
The Chicago Tribune reported that Impossible Foods met OSI last year at a foodservice trade show in Kenosha, Wis.