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]
And in other news...
- The source of that potential Impossible Dairy line remains a mystery, but Impossible Foods’ co-founders have experience with both microbial fermentation and imitation cheeses made from nuts or legumes. [Food Navigator]
- A study found that avocados’ combination of fibre and fat could prove more satiating than equivalent portions of carbohydrates. The catch: that study was funded by the Hass Avocado Board, which is as partisan as it is real. [Food Navigator]
- Michael Gove’s ‘Step Up to the Plate’ food waste initiative launches today, with Sainsbury’s, Tesco, and Waitrose signed on to halve their output by 2030.
- A vegan lobby group plans to protest the planned EU legislation to ban the word ‘burger’ when referring to burgers that aren’t made from meat. Impossible Discs, stand by. [Big Hospitality]
- The complex political history of pad thai is pretty fascinating. [Quartz]
- Burger King has launched chicken fries for the portion of the population that finds nuggets and sauce pots logistically unaccommodating. [Metro]
- Good tweet: