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The other fake meat: Impossible Foods unveils pork, sausage

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The other fake meat: Impossible Foods unveils pork, sausage

Impossible Foods has something new on its plate

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.

In the U.S., 2019 was a breakout year for plant-based meat. U.S. sales jumped 10% last year to nearly $1 billion; traditional meat sales rose 2% to $95 billion in that same time, according to Nielsen.

Impossible Foods rival Beyond Meat — which already sells plant-based sausage links — had a successful public stock offering in the spring. Impossible Foods ran short of burgers in the first half of the year thanks to the buzz from Burger King. After partnering with OSI Group, a food service company, Brown said Impossible Foods produced twice as much of its plant-based meat in the last quarter of 2019 as it sold in all of 2018.

“We have to keep scaling up as fast as we possibly can,” Brown said.

Brown said he welcomes new competitors in the space, including deep-pocketed rivals like Nestle and Tyson Foods. The meat industry is vast, he said, and plant-based meats are still only around 1% of sales.

His only concern is that plant-based products taste good enough to convince meat eaters to switch.

“A crappy product won’t win over meat lovers,” Brown said.

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AP's CES coverage: https://apnews.com/Consumerelectronics

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07 January 2020, 3:30