If you’ve been watching the technology world of late, you’ll know that Silicon Valley has been paying a fair bit of attention to the future of food. One of the companies leading this trend is Impossible Foods with its mission to develop new plant-based proteins that taste like meat, but are better for the environment. To put it boldly (which it does), Impossible would like to transform the global food system to support 9 billion humans within 30 years. That’s quite a mission.
Impossible launched its Impossible Burger about a year ago at David Chang’s restaurant, Momfuku Nishi, in New York, after a number of years in development. Turns out that it takes quite a lot of engineering and tweaking to create a burger than acts and tastes like top grade beef. This plant-based burger changes color according to its doneness, “bleeds”, gets crispy and caramelized if you want it that way, and amazingly has the same texture as beef.
Today, Impossible CEO and founder, Pat Brown, and wine and food entrepreneur, Joel Gott, announced that burger joint, Gott’s Roadside, will feature the Impossible Burger in each of its four locations. Priced at $10.99, (compared to Gott’s standard hamburger at $7.49), initially Gott’s will have a limited daily supply, so get there early if you want to check out this magic burger. The supply should increase once Impossible’s new Oakland manufacturing plant opens in the next few months.
Key to Impossible’s rollout strategy has been highly selective placements for its burger “meat” with top chefs. To-date it has signed up about 40 different eateries across the country. As CEO, Pat Brown, put it today: “(Impossible Burger) is an ingredient. Every chef does something different with it. And it’s highly flexible.”
Brown noted that the company is constantly developing and iterating on its versions (much like agile software development), and takes feedback from chefs on an ongoing basis. He was quick to point out that cows have no interest in feedback and take at least three years to grow. Way to de-position the competition.
But, as they say, the proof is in the pudding. How does it taste?
Made from wheat protein, coconut oil and potatoes, among other things, it tastes surprisingly good, especially with all the usual trimmings of a Gott’s burger. But for me, the key is whether you can get a carnivorous teenager—who knows his food—to give the Impossible Burger the thumbs up. And, as it turns out, you can.
You can find Gott’s Roadside locations here.