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Venture Capitalists Just Can’t Resist Fake Meat That Bleeds

Impossible Burger’s $300 million raise brings fake meat ever closer to replicating the industry it purports to disrupt

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Impossible Foods raised $300 million dollars in Series E funding and could follow Beyond Meat in going public Impossible Foods [Official Photo]

It’s a matter of time before fake meat hits the U.K. at scale

Impossible Foods has raised $300 million in funding in the same week that its key rival, Beyond Meat, boosted its share price from $25 to $70 by going public. The funding values Impossible Foods at $2 billion; Beyond Meat’s initial public offering (IPO) valued the company at around $3.4 billion and raised $280 million dollars. What these astronomical numbers mean in practice is that both companies can respond to the huge spikes in demand that have left U.S. restaurants short-changed on plant-based burgers, and, most likely, eventually bring their offer to the U.K. market at scale. Beyond Meat burgers have sold in Tesco since late last year, and its burger features on Honest Burgers’s main menu. Impossible, though, is the potential big player — its deal with Burger King plans for a U.K. launch by the end of 2019. More funding means more burgers; Impossible reportedly has a fake dairy product line waiting too, and alt-milk shortages have regularly scuppered the likes of Oatly. The scale of production afforded by huge venture capitalist investments could prevent that with ease.

The net takeaway here is potentially kind of gross. Fake meat’s success as an environmental phenomenon, and a welcome one at that, depends on selling to meat eaters, not already committed vegetarians and vegans. Replacing one, environmentally flawed system with another, presumed better. As more and more dollars, interests, and middlemen pour into the market, there’s a very real question about how economies of scale will affect a product that purports to be helping to liberate the planet from systems of meat production that thrive on the convenience and ubiquity that it is gaining for itself day by day. [Vox]

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