Q&A

Q&A

WHAT IS IMPOSSIBLE™ FOODS?

Impossible Foods was founded in 2011 by Patrick O. Brown, M.D., Ph.D. to make our global food system truly sustainable. Our goal is to eliminate the need to use animals to make food. Instead, we make meat, dairy and fish directly from plants.

We started with a simple question: “What makes meat taste like meat?” Our team spent years looking at every element of the sensory experience, from meat’s raw appearance to its sizzle, smell, taste and nutrition. We searched the plant world for ingredients that would match the experience, but be better for both people and the planet. After five years of research, and some fundamental discoveries along the way, we built our food technology platform and launched our first product -- the Impossible Burger.

WHAT IS IMPOSSIBLE™ BURGER?  

Impossible Burger cooks, smells and tastes like meat from cows, but is made directly from plants -- for people who love meat. Compared to the cow, Impossible Burger production uses a small fraction of the land and water resources and emits vastly fewer greenhouse gas emissions. The Impossible Burger was first served in 2016 on the menu of Chef David Chang’s NYC restaurant, Momofuku Nishi.

WHERE CAN I FIND THE IMPOSSIBLE™ BURGER?

The Impossible Burger is available in over 5,000 restaurants in the United States, Hong Kong, and Macau, and it’s being served at more restaurants every day. Click here to find one near you!

Join our mailing list to receive updates as we expand to more places around the world.

IS THE IMPOSSIBLE™ BURGER AVAILABLE IN GROCERY STORES?

The Impossible Burger is coming to U.S. grocery stores in 2019. If you’re craving the Impossible in the meantime, you can use our Locator to find it at a restaurant near you.

WHAT'S THIS ABOUT A NEW RECIPE AND HOW CAN I GET IT?

We debuted a new Impossible Burger in January 2019. Find out more about the new recipe and exactly where you can eat it here.

If you’re curious, you can reach out to your favorite restaurants to find out which recipe they’re currently serving. They’ll know based on the differences in packaging. Before March 2019 most restaurants will still be serving the original Impossible Burger recipe.

WHAT ARE THE INGREDIENTS IN THE IMPOSSIBLE™ BURGER?

The original Impossible Burger currently served in most restaurants is made mostly of wheat and potato proteins, coconut oil and heme -- the same breakdown of macro and micronutrients in meat from cows. Here’s the full ingredient list, which contains soy and wheat:

Water, Textured Wheat Protein, Coconut Oil, Potato Protein, Natural Flavors, 2% or less of: Leghemoglobin (Soy), Yeast Extract, Salt, Konjac Gum, Xanthan Gum, Soy Protein Isolate, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Thiamin (Vitamin B1), Zinc, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12.

Please note: Each restaurant puts their own spin on the Impossible. If you're curious about the ingredients in a specific restaurant's preparation of the Impossible Burger, please reach out to the restaurant directly!

Information about the new Impossible Burger recipe can be found here.

WHAT’S THE "SOY LEGHEMOGLOBIN" INGREDIENT?

Soy leghemoglobin is short for legume hemoglobin -- the hemoglobin found in soy, a leguminous plant. Leghemoglobin is a protein found in plants that carries heme, an iron-containing molecule that is essential for life. Heme is found in every living being -- both plants and animals. (Heme in animals is carried by “hemoglobin" and "myoglobin” among other proteins.)

Although heme has been consumed every day for hundreds of thousands of years, Impossible Foods discovered that it’s what makes meat taste like meat. We make the Impossible Burger using heme from soy plants -- identical to the heme from animals -- which is what gives it its uniquely meaty flavor.

HOW DO YOU MAKE "SOY LEGHEMOGLOBIN" OR “HEME”?

Heme is the unique molecule that makes meat taste like meat. Here’s how we make it.

Back in our research days, we used to harvest leghemoglobin directly from the roots of soy plants. But we soon realized that in order to make enough plant-based heme to feed the world -- and avoid the destructive environmental impact of animal agriculture -- we would need to make it using fermentation. 

The heme in Impossible Burger is made using a yeast engineered with the gene for soy leghemoglobin. First, we grow yeast via fermentation. Then, we isolate the soy leghemoglobin (containing heme) from the yeast, and add it to the Impossible Burger, where it combines with other micronutrients to create delicious, meaty flavor.

HOW DO I KNOW PLANT-BASED HEME IS SAFE?

Nothing is more important to us than health and safety. Impossible Foods fully complies with all U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations and has gone above and beyond strict compliance, providing extensive test data to the FDA. The FDA reviewed our data and gave us a “no-questions letter” validating the safety of our soy leghemoglobin. This required rigorous testing, including a stringent rat feeding study -- which found no adverse effects even at consumption levels extraordinarily higher than a human would ever consume.

The heme in the Impossible Burger is identical to the heme humans have been consuming for hundreds of thousands of years -- in meat from animals and other foods. We have a team of world-class researchers who are committed to making the Impossible Burger the best meat on the planet.

DO YOU MAKE THE IMPOSSIBLE™ BURGER USING GENETIC MODIFICATION? WHY?

Yes. We genetically engineer yeast to make one of the key ingredients in the Impossible Burger: “soy leghemoglobin” or “heme.” This process allows us to make it at scale with the lowest achievable environmental impact.

The heme in Impossible Burger is made using a yeast engineered with the gene for soy leghemoglobin. First, we grow yeast via fermentation. Then, we isolate the soy leghemoglobin (containing heme) from the yeast, and add it to the Impossible Burger, where it combines with other micronutrients to create delicious, meaty flavor.

While we first harvested leghemoglobin directly from soy plants, we realized that in order to make enough plant-based heme to feed the world -- and avoid the destructive environmental impact of animal agriculture -- we would need to make it using fermentation. By producing heme in yeast, we also avoid digging up soy plants to harvest the root nodules, which would promote erosion and release carbon stored in the soil.

IS THE IMPOSSIBLE™ BURGER HEALTHY? WHAT ARE THE NUTRITION FACTS?

The Impossible Burger was made to be better than meat in every way: taste, environmental impact and, of course, nutrition. Yes, it has the bioavailable protein, iron, and fat content of 80/20 ground beef from cows. And it also has 0mg of cholesterol (17g total fat) and is free from the contaminants typically associated with beef production. As of January 2019, we’ve launched a new recipe that’s even better. Find out more, including where to get the new Impossible Burger recipe: here.

Please note: Each restaurant puts their own spin on the Impossible. If you’re curious about the nutrition facts of a specific restaurant's preparation of the Impossible Burger, please reach out to the restaurant directly!

Below is the nutrition facts panel for the original Impossible Burger currently being served by most restaurants.

Nutrition Facts

THE NEW NEW IMPOSSIBLETM BURGER

"The original recipe was great. The new one will blow people's minds." – Pat Brown, CEO of Impossible Foods

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