Founded by Patrick O. Brown, M.D., Ph.D., Impossible Foods is a Silicon Valley startup on a mission to make the global food system more sustainable. The first product is the Impossible™ Burger.
We started in 2011 with a simple question: “Why does meat taste like meat?” We spent the next five years researching every aspect of the unique sensory experience of meat, from how it looks raw to how it sizzles and what happens when we sink our teeth into a burger. Then we recreated the precise flavors, textures, aromas, and nutrition of ground beef -- using only plants. By understanding meat at the molecular level, we made a juicy, delicious burger that's better for the planet.
Compared to a burger made from cows, making an Impossible Burger uses about 1/20th the land, 1/4th the water, and produces 1/8th the greenhouse gas emissions.
The Impossible Burger is sizzling in over a thousand restaurants in the United States and Hong Kong, and we're entering more restaurants every day. Find the nearest restaurant on our Locations page.
We're entering more and more restaurants across the United States and Hong Kong every day. Keep an eye on our Locations page for the most up-to-date information.
We will launch our plant-based meat worldwide in the years to come. Stay tuned!
Right now, the Impossible Burger isn't available in grocery stores. You can't buy it online, either. We're currently focused on entering more restaurants in more cities.
But don't be discouraged! We hope to enter retail as we grow, and we’re working hard to make that happen. Go ahead and indulge in all your home grilling fantasies—just know that it's going to be a bit of a wait.
In the meantime, you can find the ever-growing list of restaurants serving the Impossible Burger on our Locations page.
The Impossible Burger is made from simple ingredients found in nature, including wheat protein, coconut oil, potato protein, and heme. Never heard of heme? Heme is responsible for the characteristic of taste and aroma of meat. It catalyzes all the flavors when meat is cooked. Heme is exceptionally abundant in animal muscle, and it’s a basic building block of life in all organisms, including plants. We discovered how to take heme from plants and produce it using fermentation -- similar to the method that’s been used to make Belgian beer for nearly a thousand years. Adding heme to the Impossible Burger makes it a carnivore’s delight. Super tasty, super safe.
Full Ingredient List: 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
Contains: Soy, Wheat
For more information on possible allergens, check out this blog post.
Heme is an iron-containing molecule that occurs naturally in every single plant and animal. It’s an essential molecular building block of life. Heme gives your blood its ability to carry oxygen. It’s found in all living organisms, and it's been consumed every day—heck, every second—for hundreds of thousands of years..
Heme is super abundant in animal muscle, and that's what makes a burger so flavorful. It's also why meat is a particularly good source of iron. The heme found in animal muscle is carried by a protein called myoglobin.
Plants, particularly nitrogen-fixing plants and legumes, also have heme. The heme found in these plants is carried by leghemoglobin, which is closely related to myoglobin. Leghemoglobin in the soy plant is called soy leghemoglobin. The heme molecule in plant-based heme is atom-for-atom identical to the heme molecule found in meat. It’s what makes the Impossible Burger so rich and decadent.
Yes. We genetically engineer yeast to make a key ingredient: heme. The process allows us to produce the Impossible Burger at scale with the lowest achievable environmental impact.
We start with the gene for a protein called leghemoglobin, a heme protein that is naturally found in the root nodules of soy plants. Leghemoglobin is similar to myoglobin, the heme protein that is exceptionally abundant in animal muscles, binds oxygen and gives meat its unique flavor and aroma.
We add the soy leghemoglobin gene to a yeast strain, and grow the yeast via fermentation. Then we isolate the leghemoglobin, or heme, from the yeast. We add heme to the Impossible Burger to give it the intense, meaty flavor, aroma and cooking properties of animal meat.
By producing our heme in yeast, we avoid digging up soy plants to harvest the root nodules, which would promote erosion and release carbon stored in the soil. This enables us to produce heme sustainably at high volume and make plant-based meat for millions of people, offsetting the environmental impact of animal agriculture.
Nothing is more important to Impossible Foods than your health and safety. Impossible Foods fully complies with all U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations and has gone well above and beyond strict compliance, providing extensive test data to the FDA and receiving a “no-questions letter” that validates the safety of our key ingredient. (You can read the FDA’s no-questions letter here.)
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 -- including VP of Nutrition and Health Sue Klapholz -- committed to making the Impossible™ Burger the best burger on the planet. We’ve conducted rigorous testing, including a stringent rat feeding study that found no adverse effects even at consumption levels of leghemoglobin extraordinarily higher than a human would ever consume.
Check out our Medium post, Heme & Health: The Essentials, for more information.
The Impossible has the health benefits of being free from contaminants associated with beef production. It also contains 0mg of cholesterol. The bioavailable protein, iron, and fat content are comparable to conventional 80/20 ground beef.