Impossible Foods has been on a tear, making inroads into an ever-growing number of major restaurant brands following the launch of its Impossible Sausage, which is the first all-new product from the plant-based food technology company since the launch of its Impossible Burger flagship product in 2016. Since debuting at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show in January, Impossible Sausage has become available in more than 22,000 restaurants.
Burger King, which this week unveiled its “restaurant of the future” design, demonstrated its forward-thinking prowess in June when it became the first restaurant to roll out Impossible Sausage with the launch of its Impossible Croissan’wich in all 7,500 locations in the United States. A week later, Starbucks launched the Impossible Breakfast Sandwich in all 15,000 Starbucks nationwide. Impossible Sausage also went on sale to all restaurants in the United States via major foodservice distributors, beginning with 30 of the top-rated diners in the country.
Now Impossible Foods has secured $200 million in its latest funding round, led by new investor Coatue, to drive further adoption of its plant-based products into the restaurant sector. The company will also reportedly use the funds to expand its research and development programs; accelerate its manufacturing scaleup; increase its retail presence and its availability in key international markets; and accelerate commercialization and development of next-generation, plant-based products, such as Impossible™ Pork Made From Plants, milk, steak and other foods.
The food technology company has raised about $1.5 billion since its founding in 2011. Existing investors including Mirae Asset Global Investments and Temasek as well as new investor XN also contributed to the “Series G” round. The company’s previous investment round of $500 million, announced mid-March, was one of the largest investment rounds for a food tech startup and was oversubscribed due to excess demand from investors.
Impossible Foods’ existing individual investors also include such celebrities as Jay Brown, Common, Kirk Cousins, Paul George, Peter Jackson, Jay-Z, Mindy Kaling, Trevor Noah, Alexis Ohanian, Kal Penn, Katy Perry, Questlove, Ruby Rose, Phil Rosenthal, Jaden Smith, Serena Williams, will.i.am and Zedd.
“The use of animals to make food is the most destructive technology on Earth, a leading driver of climate change and the primary cause of a catastrophic global collapse of wildlife populations and biodiversity,” said Dr. Patrick O. Brown, M.D., Ph.D., CEO and Founder of Impossible Foods. “Impossible Foods’ mission is to replace that archaic system by making the most delicious, nutritious and sustainable meats in the world, directly from plants. To do that, Impossible Foods needs to sustain our exponential growth in production and sales, and invest significantly in R&D. Our investors believe in our mission to transform the global food system — and they recognize an extraordinary economic opportunity.”
In June, Impossible Foods debuted its direct-to-consumer e-commerce site with two-day delivery in the continental United States. Customer satisfaction is extremely high: about 95% of online customers say they are likely to purchase via the e-commerce channel again. At least 75% of buyers report having tried Impossible Burger previously in restaurants, including Burger King, White Castle, Qdoba, Hard Rock Cafe, and Red Robin.
The food tech startup has dramatically increased its production capacity to support surging demand. With a robust plant-based supply chain, the company has experienced no disruptions to its manufacturing operations during COVID-19 and has achieved new production milestones month over month – a stark contrast to the slaughterhouse industry that experienced rampant COVID-19 outbreaks. Impossible Burger contains no animal hormones or antibiotics. It uses 96% less land, 87% less water and 89% fewer greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional beef from cows.
“2020 has been a year of explosive growth for us, but this is just the beginning,” said David Lee, Chief Financial Officer for Impossible Foods. “We plan to create plant-based upgrades for every major category of animal-derived food products. This investment will allow us to continue to develop and commercialize the technology that will enable that transformation.”