• Market Crumbs

Impossible Foods' CEO Is Very Optimistic


Image via Vegan Liftz on Unsplash

The last few years has seen a rise in alternatives to meat, such as plant-based meat and lab-grown meat.


Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods have largely been the two companies at the forefront of bringing meat alternatives to the market. Most well-known quick service restaurants now have an offering from one of the two companies.


Impossible Foods founder and CEO Patrick Brown was on CNBC earlier this week, making a prediction that most people would likely gladly take the other side of.


"From a nutritional standpoint our products match the protein quality and content of the animal products that they replace," Brown said. "This is why I think people are increasingly aware plant-based products are going to completely replace the animal-based products in the food world within the next 15 years. That’s our mission. That transformation is inevitable."


While it's not surprising to see him make a prediction like this, results from Gallup polls reveal the odds of that happening are slim to none.


According to a 2018 poll by Gallup, 5% of Americans consider themselves to be vegetarian. Gallup conducted the same poll in 1999 and found that 6% of Americans considered themselves to be vegetarian.


A separate poll by Gallup found that just 41% of Americans have tried plant-based meat. Age has somewhat of an effect on the likelihood of someone trying plant-based meat, with about 50% of Americans younger than 50 trying it, while only 26% of Americans 65 and older have tried it.


Despite plant-based meats being added to many quick service restaurant menus, it appears not all of them have fared well enough to warrant keeping them on the menu.


Just yesterday, McDonald's revealed it stopped testing its meat-free burger using Beyond Meat on April 6. McDonald's, which hasn't yet tested a meatless burger in the U.S., said "We have no current plans to bring it back to our menu at this time."


Earlier this year, Tim Hortons pulled Beyond Meat products from its menus across Canada less than a year after introducing them. Following the announcement, Tim Hortons said "Ultimately, our guests choose to stay with the meat option in their breakfast sandwiches."


It's not all bad news, however, as Burger King expanded its Impossible Whopper to all 50 states, while also introducing new menu items such as the Impossible Croissan’wich. Even Starbucks finally began offering a plant-based meat, introducing a breakfast sandwich made with Impossible sausage earlier this week.


With the reception to plant-based meat offerings at restaurants mixed, as well as the same number of Americans considering themselves vegetarians as in 1999, it appears Brown's prediction that plant-based products will replace animal-based products within 15 years seems like a stretch.


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