Impossible Foods has begun production at its first large-scale plant as it aims to produce 1 million pounds of plant-based meat per month.
Located in Oakland, California, the 68,000-square-foot plant will enable Impossible to introduce its burgers to more US restaurants and launch its flagship product in retail and international markets.
The company makes meat substitutes directly from plants. Its flagship product, the Impossible Burger, is made with a combination of plant-based ingredients including soy leghemoglobin, a protein that carries heme, a molecule that occurs naturally in animals and plants.
Last month, the Silicon Valley start-up announced it had received $75 million in funding from investors such as Bill Gates, Singapore company Temasek and Open Philanthropy Project.
Impossible claims that the heme in its burgers is identical to the heme humans consume in meat, and while it delivers ‘all the craveable depth of beef’, it uses far fewer resources.
In development since 2011, Impossible claims its burger ‘looks, handles, smells, cooks and tastes like ground beef from cows’, but is made entirely from plants, with a much smaller environmental footprint than meat from animals.
In a statement, the company said: “The Impossible Burger is produced without hormones, antibiotics, cholesterol or artificial flavors. It uses about 75% less water, generates about 87% fewer greenhouse gases and requires around 95% less land than conventional ground beef from cows.
“As the plant in East Oakland ramps up and achieves greater economies of scale, the environmental footprint of each burger produced there will decrease.”
Impossible Foods CEO and founder Patrick O. Brown added: “Our mission to transform the global food system is urgent, and the opportunity is huge, so we are embarking on one of the most ambitious scale-ups of any start-up in the food industry.
“Our goal is to make delicious, sustainable, nutritious and affordable meat for everyone, as soon as possible.”
Headquartered in Redwood City, Impossible Foods employs around 200 people, including more than 40 in Oakland. When fully ramped up, the plant will employ about 80 people.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2017