Using the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Vegas as its launchpad, Redwood City-based Impossible Foods announced its latest product Monday night: Impossible Pork.
The runaway success of the Impossible Burger, now widely available at Burger Kings across the country and only recently available grocery stores, has Impossible Foods moving on to more product lines. And first up is its pork alternative, which like its plant-based ground beef is made using the vegetable-derived "blood" substance called heme. As the Associated Press reports, in addition to Impossible Pork, there is also Impossible Sausage, and that will be the first thing most U.S. consumers will likely try via (who else?) Burger King.
In five U.S. markets, Burger King will soon be rolling out the Impossible Croissan'wich, made with egg, cheese, and an Impossible Sausage patty. Impossible Pork will also appear first in restaurants, and the timeline for a rollout to stores is not yet clear.
"A launch of pork is a pivotal moment for us for at least a couple of reasons," says Impossible Foods CEO Pat Brown. "First, it’s the second completely new product that we’re launching. Beef is popular around the world but in many cultures, the most popular and familiar and common dishes use pork as the main source of meat. so for us to have an impact in those markets, pork was a necessity." He adds, "It's also an amazingly delicious product."
Impossible Foods had a big year in 2019. As Brown tells the AP, the company sold twice as much Impossible Burger meat in the fourth quarter of the year than it did in all of 2018 combined. That involved some intense scaling and a partnership with food-service company OSI Group — and as SFist noted last July, the Burger King deal meant that Impossible Foods had to let some of its smaller-scale restaurant clients fall by the wayside for a couple of months. Many local chefs saw this as a betrayal after their early support of the product helped launch it into the mainstream.
But Brown is thinking no smaller than replacing all animal-based meat by 2035, and dominating the Chinese market — where pork is in huge demand but relies heavily on imports.
"Everything that we're doing is trying to avert the biggest threat that the world is facing," Brown says, referring to climate change and the impacts on greenhouse gas emissions of raising pigs and cows for slaughter.
Of course, as many health advocates and critics have pointed out since the Impossible Burger's rise began, this all doesn't necessarily add up to healthful eating. An Impossible Whopper has the same amount of fat as a standard one, and contains more sodium. Similarly, Impossible Pork has just 40 fewer calories per serving as 80-percent lean pork, per the AP, and it contains six times as much sodium (420 milligrams per serving).