Plant-based dieters and line-stepping meat eaters rejoice: the Impossible Burger is somehow getting more realistic . Impossible Foods confirmed today at the International Consumer Electronics Show that it will begin rolling out a new Impossible Burger recipe that aims to taste better, have enhanced nutritional qualities and be more culinarily dynamic.
“The new product is a vast improvement of our old recipe,” explained J. Michael Melton, Technical Sales and Culinary Manager at Impossible Foods. “Ultimately it’s juicier, meatier and beefier than before. The versatility has improved as well. And can use it in the same way that you would use any other ground meat protein.”
The more than 5,000 locations in the United States that currently sell the Impossible Burger can expect a new recipe that contains no gluten, hormones or antibiotics. Its texture also aims to contain a meatier chew through the replacement of wheat protein with soy protein, which was made in response to consumers looking for gluten free options. This is a logical but curious replacement if only because of mixed consumer sentiment around soy protein due to the lack of professional consensus around its health properties.
The original Impossible Foods recipe was designed specifically for flat-top cooking. Despite this specification, chefs substituted the plant-based meat into other ground animal meat recipes, including meatballs, potstickers and even döner kebap. This textural update presumably occurred to aid in chef creativity as well as preempt the inevitable at-home experimentation home cooks will engage in once the Impossible Burger launches in retail outlets in 2019.
“The new recipe of the Impossible Burger is a huge milestone for the company and toward our mission to completely replace animals in the global food system,” explained Impossible Foods’ CEO and Founder Pat Brown.
This new recipe continues the company’s advancement towards its North Star of eliminating animal proteins from restaurants and homes around the world. In addition to its U.S. retail launch which is slated for 2019, the new recipe will be available in more than 100 restaurants in Hong Kong and Macau and shortly in Singapore.
In July 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave its stamp of approval on Impossible Foods’ key ingredient, plant-based heme (leghemoglobin), which is responsible for the burger’s iron taste, bleeding properties, and red to brown cooking-color transition. In response to the company’s decision to expand its burger to consumers, the FDA is now seeking pre-market approval of heme as a color additive. In a statement about this requirement, Pat Brown stated that the company preemptively submitted a color additive petition to the FDA last month which he believes will not delay the 2019 retail launch or present compliance issues.
Impossible Foods created its Impossible Burger with a mission to recreate the complete sensory experience of eating an animal-based burger, including its fatty mouthfeel, its iron taste and its bleeding. Impossible Foods’ rising popularity is due in part to both emergent consumer preferences for plant-based foods, as well as broad concern about the unsustainable practices adopted by the meat industry today.
The world’s population expected to grow to 9.7 billion by 2050 while meat consumption is predicted to increase by 73%, and 30% of the planet’s arable surface is already dedicated to animal production. Pat Brown’s Impossible Foods seeks to create animal-alternative products that are delicious and cost-friendly enough to influence consumer preferences as a means to solve these broad issues.
“Using animals to make protein is an ancient technology — it hasn’t changed in 10,000 years. It’s ripe for disruption,” said Momofuku restaurant group founder David Chang. “Impossible Foods’ new recipe represents a quantum leap forward for food tech. This new recipe is a game changer.”