In this file:
· The other fake meat: Impossible Foods unveils pork, sausage
· I tasted Impossible Pork at CES 2020
· NYT: Impossible Dumplings and Beyond Buns: Will China Buy Fake Meat?
The other fake meat: Impossible Foods unveils pork, sausage
By Dee-Ann Durbin, Associated Press
Jan 6, 2019
After a big year for its plant-based burger, Impossible Foods has something new on its plate.
The California-based company unveiled Impossible Pork and Impossible Sausage on Monday evening at the CES gadget show in Las Vegas.
It’s Impossible Food’s first foray beyond fake beef. The Impossible Burger, which went on sale in 2016, has been a key player in the growing category of vegan meats. Like the burger, Impossible Food’s pork and sausage are made from soy but mimic the taste and texture of ground meat.
Impossible Pork will be rolled out to restaurants first. The company isn’t yet saying when it will come to groceries. Impossible Foods only recently began selling its burgers in grocery stores, although they’re available at more than 17,000 restaurants in the U.S., Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau.
Burger King will give consumers their first taste of Impossible Sausage. Later this month, 139 Burger King restaurants in five U.S. cities will offer the Impossible Croissan’wich, made with plant-based sausage coupled with the traditional egg and cheese. Burger King did a similar test of the Impossible Whopper last year before expanding sales nationwide.
The pork products and the Impossible Burger are made in a similar way. Impossible Foods gets heme — the protein that gives meat its flavor and texture — from soy leghemoglobin, which is found in the roots of soy plants. To make heme in high volume, it inserts the DNA from soy into yeast and ferments it. That mixture is then combined with other ingredients, like coconut oil.
The company tweaked the ingredients to mimic pork’s springy texture and mild flavor. For the sausage it added spices.
Impossible Pork has 220 calories in a four-ounce serving. That’s not much less than a serving of Smithfield 80% lean ground pork, which has 260 calories. Smithfield’s animal-derived pork has more total fat, at 20 grams, than Impossible Pork, which has 13 grams. But Impossible Pork has far more sodium, at 420 milligrams. Smithfield has 70 milligrams.
But health concerns are only part of the reason consumers are eating more plant-based meats. Animal welfare and environmental concerns are also a factor. Nearly 1.5 billion pigs are killed for food each year, a number that has tripled in the last 50 years, according to the World Economic Forum. Raising those pigs depletes natural resources and increases greenhouse gas emissions.
“Everything that we’re doing is trying to avert the biggest threat that the world is facing,” Impossible Foods CEO Pat Brown told The Associated Press.
Brown said the company decided pork should be its next product because customers were frequently requesting it. Impossible Foods started working on the new products about 18 months ago and accelerated development in the second half of 2019.
Brown said ground pork is also critical to meeting the company’s international expansion goals. While Americans eat more beef and chicken, pork is the most widely consumed meat worldwide, according to the National Pork Board. Chinese consumers eat more than 88 pounds (40 kilograms) of pork per year, compared to 65 pounds (30 kilograms) for Americans.
Brown said he believes a product like Impossible Pork is critical in China, which has limited arable land and relies heavily on imported meat. Last year, Chinese pork prices surged after African swine fever wiped out millions of pigs.
Brown said Impossible Foods is talking to Chinese regulators and potential partners that could make Impossible Pork — as well as plant-based burgers — in China.
“This is a huge opportunity for China in terms of its food security,” Brown said.
Impossible Foods is also waiting for approval from European regulators to sell its products there...
I tasted Impossible Pork at CES 2020
The food was salty, just like me
By Elizabeth Lopatto, The Verge
Jan 7, 2020
You may have heard that Impossible Foods is expanding its fake meat options beyond burgers — it’s moving into pork. So I chowed down at Kumi, a Japanese restaurant in the Mandalay Bay casino in Las Vegas. I’m still chewing on how I feel, but it may not actually matter how perfectly Impossible Pork imitates the pig meat: it does provide a savory base of protein for a lot of foods that traditionally call for pork.
Impossible Food’s offerings might be fake meat but they’re real food. Impossible Pork isn’t really available for you to buy, though — pricing and availability hadn’t been announced during my taste test. However, you can definitely check out a different Impossible offering at one of 139 Burger Kings, starting January 13: the Impossible Croissan’wich, available at a limited time, will feature Impossible Sausage.
Food that’s an imitation of other food is kind of a trend. In addition to Impossible Foods, there’s Beyond Meat, which also makes a fake beef patty. You can pair your fake meat with fake wines, from Endless West and Replica Wine. Or, if milk is more your speed, there’s dairy-free “milk” from Perfect Day Foods and Ripple Foods. These companies are leaning hard on the promise of sustainability and health, trying to appear to environmentally conscious consumers as better alternatives for conventional meat, dairy, and wine.
During Impossible Foods’ event, I tried out some Impossible Pork Banh Mi, Impossible Pork Char Siu Buns, Impossible Pork Dan Dan Noodles, Impossible Pork Katsu, and Impossible Pork Sweet, Sour and Numbing Meatballs.
It was... fine? The fake meat was a little spongy; my favorites were the meatballs and the noodles. Look, I should be straight with you: I haven’t eaten pork in more than 20 years, so I don’t know if it actually tastes like pork...
... The thing about Impossible Foods, much like Beyond Meat, is that — as a longtime vegetarian — I’m not their market. I’ve been happily abstaining from pork since 1996. Ditto beef, chicken, turkey and so on. I don’t want or need fake meat. This product seems like it’s aimed at people who are thinking about reducing their meat consumption, and are nervous about taking the plunge.
But it doesn’t really matter how I feel about it. The truth is that a lot of restaurants don’t put much thought into their vegetarian dishes. I don’t like the Beyond Burger or the Impossible Burger but I nonetheless have eaten them several times, because that’s the vegetarian option at the burger joint my friends want to go to...
Impossible Dumplings and Beyond Buns: Will China Buy Fake Meat?
Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat want to expand to the Chinese market but face significant governmental and cultural hurdles.
By David Yaffe-Bellany, The New York Times (NYT)
Jan. 7, 2020
As an early sign of how Impossible Foods’ plant-based meat may fare in China, the placement of the company’s booth at the International Import Expo in Shanghai was not particularly auspicious.
Impossible Foods was relegated to the fringes of a cavernous convention center, surrounded by entrepreneurs with far less expansive ambitions than the transformation of the global meat industry. To one side of its booth in November was a company that sells sliding glass doors. Also nearby: a purveyor of Persian rugs.
“It was kind of obscure,” said Pat Brown, the chief executive of Impossible Foods. “Some far corner of this vast, insanely huge space.”
Over the last couple of years, Impossible Foods and its main rival, Beyond Meat, have gone from start-ups with niche followings to major American food companies. They have struck deals with fast-food chains like McDonald’s and Burger King, and earned plaudits for their efforts to replace animal products with plant-based substitutes that are healthier and less harmful to the environment.
Now the companies are looking to make inroads in a potentially even more profitable market with a major environmental footprint: China, the world’s largest consumer of meat. Meat production is a leading cause of climate change, experts say, and the growing demand for pork and beef in China has fueled much of that environmental damage, from water shortages and heat waves to deforestation in the Amazon rainforest.
“Every time someone in China eats a piece of meat, a little puff of smoke goes up in the Amazon,” Mr. Brown said. “It is an absolutely essential and extremely important market for us.”
But selling plant-based meat to mainland China will not be easy. Beyond Meat is available in dozens of countries, while Impossible Foods has sold its product in Singapore, Macau and Hong Kong. And the two companies have overcome pushback in the United States from cattle farmers, meat lobbyists and restaurants like Arby’s.
China, however, presents a different set of political and cultural hurdles, which other American food brands have found difficult to overcome. The complex regulatory process involves a web of state agencies that Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat will have to navigate. And then there is a more existential question: Will the Chinese public buy plant-based meat?
Despite the long history of vegetarian proteins in Chinese cuisine, many consumers in the country’s growing middle class consider meat an important status symbol, or have radically different expectations from Americans about how it should be prepared. In recent years, a number of Chinese companies have begun developing plant-based products, but those mostly target vegetarians, not the meat eaters Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods hope to attract.
“If I were on the board, I’d look at the C.E.O. and say, ‘You’re crazy,’” said Jeremy Haft, an expert on Chinese trade and the author of “Unmade in China,” a 2015 book about the country’s economy...
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