- Impossible Foods announced a new partnership with global retail food supplier OSI Group to expand the production and distribution of its flagship Impossible Burger.
- The co-packing relationship with OSI was forged amid unprecedented demand for the Impossible Burger, for which there have recently been shortages. The Impossible Burger is currently on menus in approximately 10,000 restaurants on two continents.
- Impossible Burgers will be sold in grocery stores starting in September, the company told CNBC. After the Food and Drug Administration gave soy leghemoglobin, the colorant that makes the burgers "bloody," safe status to be used in that way, Impossible Foods can now sell its products directly to consumers.
Nothing is impossible, especially the global expansion of Impossible Foods. Since the product was rolled out in 2016, the company has experienced explosive growth, which increased following the updated recipe of Impossible Burger 2.0. Faced with insatiable demand, however, the company apologized to restaurants earlier this year for a shortage that resulted from "demand greatly outstripping supply."
In efforts to keep customers happy, retailers opted to substitute other veggie burgers for the Impossible Burger. Anecdotal evidence suggests eaters don't see the burger as interchangeable, not even with that from competitor Beyond Meat.
But ensuring there were enough burgers to go around was a hurdle. To ramp up production, Impossible Foods raised an additional $300 million, bringing the company’s total investment since 2011 to $775 million. Analysts talking to Reuters value Impossible Foods at $2 billion.
The new collaboration with OSI maximizes both production and the company’s reach. OSI has more than 65 facilities in 17 countries, so it would not be surprising if Impossible Foods takes advantage of those international distribution channels. In March, the Impossible Burger launched in Singapore, with sales more than quadrupling in just five months.
Once the plant-based burger hits store shelves, it will likely sell out fast. Plant-based alternative meats are in high demand. In fact, after 287% net revenue growth in the second quarter, competitor Beyond Meat announced plans to double production by the end of this year.
With so many factors working in the favor of this plant-based burger, the manufacturer will likely continue to grow. The company has said it's working on a fish substitute, and it would not be surprising if someday it expands into making chicken, lamb or pork alternatives. If demand continues to grow, however, Impossible Foods is going to need all the co-packing help it can find to feed all the hungry consumers.