Silicon Valley start-up Impossible Foods has closed a $75 million investment thanks to funding from Bill Gates, Singapore company Temasek and Open Philanthropy Project.
Impossible Foods makes meat substitutes directly from plants; its flagship product, the Impossible Burger, is made with a combination of plant-based ingredients. A key ingredient is soy leghemoglobin, a protein that carries heme, a molecule that occurs naturally in animals and plants.
The company 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.
Other investors involved in the funding round are Khosla Ventures and Horizon Ventures.
In a statement, Impossible Foods said: “The Impossible Burger uses about 75% less water, generates about 87% fewer greenhouse gases and requires around 95% less land than conventional ground beef from cows. It’s produced without hormones, antibiotics, cholesterol or artificial flavours.”
The company was founded in 2011 by former Stanford University biochemistry professor Patrick Brown, who wanted to find a way to reduce the environmental impact of meat.
“Our scientists spent so much time and effort studying a single molecule: heme, because heme is what makes meat taste like meat,” said Brown.
“It turns out that finding a sustainable way to make massive amounts of heme from plants is a critical step in solving the world’s greatest environmental threat.”
Impossible Foods recently secured a patent in the US to use leghemoglobin in plant-based meat. The 200-person start-up now has more than 100 additional patents pending.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2017