• Market Crumbs

Fake Meat Burgers Were Just The Tip Of The Iceberg

Image via Eater

Not in the mood for a burger? How about Pork Banh Mi or Pork Dan Dan Noodles? If not a burger or pork, what about some sausage?

Impossible Foods is now giving you all of these options, except they're not real meat. Following the success of their debut product, the plant-based Impossible Burger in 2016, Impossible Foods announced yesterday it will now offer similar versions mimicking pork and sausage. Impossible Pork and Impossible Sausage, as they're aptly named, are Impossible's latest offerings to meet its mission, which is "to save meat and Earth." 

Impossible Foods CEO Pat Brown doesn't hide his thoughts on traditional meat production. It's a "ridiculous technology for food," Brown said at CES this week. Brown believes traditional meat contributes to "the two biggest threats humanity has ever faced, which is catastrophic climate change and a catastrophic meltdown in biodiversity." 

Following the success of the Impossible Whopper launch at Burger King last year, Impossible Foods will begin testing a breakfast sandwich at the fast food restaurant. The Impossible Croissan’wich will feature the same ingredients as the current offering such as egg and cheese but will be made with an Impossible Sausage patty. The nationwide launch of the Impossible Whopper last year helped Burger King see its best same-store sales growth since 2015.

As for Impossible Pork, it's not hard to understand why they would make this their next product. Pork is the most widely eaten meat globally, accounting for over 36% of worldwide meat intake. "Pigs are the single most popular source of meat globally and particularly in Asia," Brown said last month. "Internationally, it's a clear No. 1, and our goal [and] our mission is global. For us to have an impact, particularly in Asia, pork is kind of a no-brainer." Impossible Foods didn't say when or where Impossible Pork would go on sale. 

As for what's next, Brown hinted the company could look into creating plant-based seafood, chicken and even bacon. "We're not going to release a bacon product until we feel like anyone who is the most hardcore bacon worshipper thinks it's awesomely delicious," Brown said.

The rise of Impossible Foods hasn't come without controversy, however. Some vegans and vegetarians boycotted the Impossible Whopper because it's cooked on the same grill as "the regular dead cow burger." The cooking method even prompted a lawsuit by a vegan who found meat by-products on his Impossible Whopper. He accused the company of misleading customers by marketing the Impossible Whopper as a meat-free menu item. 

From an ingredient standpoint, the Impossible Burger has also received criticism such as it is highly processed and contains GMOs. Last month, an article went viral claiming the Impossible Whopper has enough estrogen to cause men to grow breasts.   

"The impossible whopper has 44 mg of estrogen and the whopper has 2.5 ng of estrogen," the report stated. "That means an impossible whopper has 18 million times as much estrogen as a regular whopper. Just six glasses of soy milk per day has enough estrogen to grow boobs on a male." 

Impossible Foods, which has already raised more than $750 million from investors, was reportedly recently looking to raise another $300 million to $400 million. The company has raised funds from a wide range of investors including Jay-Z, Katy Perry and Bill Gates. "I think it’s reasonably likely at some point that we’ll go public," Brown said yesterday. 

As Impossible Foods competes with other brands to see who can create the largest variety of imitation meat with the closest taste to the real thing, time will tell how consumers will adapt to these meat substitutes. 

Leftover Crumbs

  • Just when you thought you've seen it all. Reuters ran a headline yesterday titled "Stripteasing Musk launches Tesla SUV program In China." Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk was in China for the launch of the Model Y program at the new Shanghai factory. Musk tweeted the video, saying "At Tesla Giga Shanghai NSFW!!" Nevertheless, shares of Tesla continued their squeeze, soaring to a new all-time high of $471.64, giving the company a market capitalization almost equal to General Motors and Ford combined

  • Facebook is walking a slippery slope. Facebook will remove "deepfakes," videos that have been doctored, as the company views them as a threat in the run-up to the U.S. presidential election. The world's largest social network will remove videos that have been "edited or synthesized" other than for quality that could mislead users. Where things may get interesting, and potentially backfire, is the rule will not apply to videos that are parody or satire. "While these videos are still rare on the internet, they present a significant challenge for our industry and society as their use increases," Monika Bickert, Facebook's VP of global policy management, wrote.

  • Maybe it's because they sell too much wicker. Pier 1 Imports is planning to lay off approximately 300 employees, or 40% of its headquarters staff, and close 450 stores as it appears to be the latest casualty of the retail apocalypse. The company reportedly presented a bankruptcy plan to creditors last month that would lead to a smaller company. Pier One has 942 stores in the U.S. and Canada. "Although decisions that impact our associates are never easy, reducing the number of our brick-and-mortar locations is a necessary business decision," Robert Riesbeck, Pier 1’s CEO and CFO, said.

  • George Orwell probably wouldn't live there. Toyota is planning to build a prototype "city of the future," which will be powered by hydrogen fuel cells, include smart homes and AI, as well as become a testing ground for autonomous vehicles. The "Woven City" will begin with 2,000 residents and be built on the site of an automobile factory that is closing. "It’s hard to learn something about a smart city if you are only building a smart block," James Kuffner, CEO for the Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development said.

  • Goldman Sachs is trying something new. Goldman Sachs is reorganizing its business into four distinct divisions—Investment Banking, Global Markets, Asset Management and Consumer & Wealth Management. The divisions are similar to those seen at rivals JPMorgan and Citigroup. Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon is also eliminating the Investing and Lending unit that previous CEO Lloyd Blankfein created following the financial crisis to comply with regulations banning banks from prop trading. The move is partly driven to reinvigorate Goldman's stock, which is down nearly 15% from its high reached in 2018 despite a strong overall market.