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Product, Service & Design Innovation
The Rise and Rise of Plant-Based Proteins

Impossible Foods announces another step in its journey toward world domination; while conventional protein giants Bumble Bee and Cargill get in on the meat-free fun with a new partnership, private-label plant-based products.

Impossible Foods turning hypergrowth into lower prices

Image credit: Impossible Foods

Thanks to skyrocketing month-over-month demand and new economies of scale, Impossible Foods announced this week it will expand its product lineup; and drop prices, to rival conventional meat in every way.

The move comes amid continued production records for the flagship Impossible Burger, now served at thousands of national QSR chains including Burger King, Red Robin, Qdoba, Cheesecake Factory, Umami Burger, White Castle and Hard Rock Cafe. Last week, Disney also made the Impossible possible at Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort and Disney Cruise Line.

The product expansion and price reduction reflect the company’s vision to compete against ground beef from cows in every way that matters to the consumer: taste, nutrition, sustainability, convenience and affordability.

“We launched Impossible Burger at America’s top restaurants, and we still enjoy a premium reputation among the world’s best chefs and gourmets,” said Impossible Foods’ CEO Dr. Patrick O. Brown. “But our stated goal since the founding of the company has always been to drive down prices through economies of scale, reach price parity and then undercut the price of conventional ground beef from cows. Today’s price cut is just the latest step toward our goal of eliminating animals in the food system.”

The Impossible Burger rivals ground beef from cows for taste and contains the same amount of protein — but with zero cholesterol and a fraction of the negative environmental impacts inherent in livestock production.

Patties to the people

In addition to the price cut, Impossible Foods will further expand its product lineup, which now includes quarter-pound and third-pound Impossible Burger patties; the popular 5-pound bulk package of Impossible Burger — good for items such as meatballs, tacos, chili and Bolognese; and Impossible Pork, which debuted at CES 2020 in January.

Another way Impossible Burger adds value is that it shrinks less during cooking than ground beef from cows, which loses approximately 25 percent of its weight when cooking; meaning more Impossible Burger ends up on the plate than a dish cooked with the same amount of conventional ground beef.

Read more about Impossible Foods' latest move ...

Bumble Bee to distribute Good Catch's plant-based seafood

Image credit: Good Catch Foods

Also this week, Bumble Bee Foods, LLC — one of North America’s largest branded seafood companies — announced it was joining the plant-based protein brigade with a joint venture partnership with Gathered Foods Corporation's  Good Catch® brand of plant-based seafood products. Bumble Bee will leverage its sales, distribution and logistics expertise to ensure that consumers nationwide have access to Good Catch products at affordable prices. This venture will make Bumble Bee the first and only major seafood company to partner with a plant-based seafood brand.

“This partnership is a win for Bumble Bee, Good Catch, consumers and the health of our oceans. Bumble Bee has always been deeply committed to sustainable fishing and we have been actively working to manage fish stocks across our portfolio,” said Bumble Bee President and CEO Jan Tharp. “It is critically important that as an industry we continue to find innovative solutions to decouple growth with environmental impact. Providing great-tasting alternative ways for consumers to enjoy ocean-inspired foods is a key pillar of our long-term commitment to ocean health.”

As overfishing continues to threaten sustainable global fish stocks, seafood is the next wave in the plant-based revolution, which has been centered in the dairy and meat aisle. Good Catch has created great-tasting plant-based products using a proprietary blend of ingredients that offer similar texture, flavor and nutritional value as seafood, while promoting healthier oceans. Along with brands such as Loma Linda and Sophie’s Kitchen, Good Catch is poised to satisfy the growing consumer appetite for plant-based seafood; and through this partnership with Bumble Bee, now has the ability to meet the ever-growing demand.

As an independent company, Good Catch will remain focused on developing and marketing great-tasting plant-based products. Bumble Bee says it will continue to bring consumers sustainably sourced seafood — including tuna, salmon, clams and sardines.

Cargill launches plant-based private-label products 

Image credit: Karine Avetisyan/Unsplash

Meanwhile, global food and agriculture company Cargill is also getting in on the meat-free fun: The company recently announced its new private-label, plant-based patties and ground products will hit retailers and restaurants in early April — and it’s calling them “some of the best-tasting products available in the plant-based category today.”

“Cargill has a strong history of providing high-quality protein products to customers,” said Elizabeth Gutschenritter, managing director of Cargill’s alternative protein team. “Producing plant-based products across our global supply chain is the logical next step to expanding our ability to meet consumer needs and bring new value to this category.”

Much like the growing group of fossil fuel companies dipping their toes into renewable energy, Cargill has invested $7 billion globally in animal protein in the last five years while making strategic investments in alternative proteins.

“We need to keep all protein options on the table,” said Brian Sikes, leader of Cargill’s global protein and salt business. “Whether you are eating alternative or animal protein, Cargill will be at the center of the plate.”