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4 Myths of Plant-Based Meat (+ why you should add ImpossibleTM products to your menu)

Say goodbye to the bland frozen veggie burgers of yesterday and hello to meaty meat made from plants.

Impossible™ Burger from Wahlburgers with veggies, melted cheese, and a side of fries on a table

When Impossible Foods was founded in 2011, we started with a simple question: “What makes meat taste like meat?” Then we took everything we know and love about meat, and aimed to make it even better – using our secret ingredient, heme(opens in a new tab). Flash forward a few years and the Impossible™ Burger and Impossible™ Sausage Made from Plants have become cult hits with customers of all ages and dietary preferences. But despite modern advances in the food industry, several long-standing myths about plant-based meat remain. Here are a few that are worth debunking once and for all:

Myth #1: It won't taste good

Indeed, most products striving to replace animal-derived meat do not deliver in the flavor and texture department. As a result, taste is the top barrier to trial and repeat purchase for plant-based meat products. 

That's why savvy restaurant operators know how important it is to serve products that satisfy meat cravings. Among a sample of foodservice professionals aware of Impossible Foods, 89% rank [Impossible Foods] in the top three brands they believe to be best in class, with the majority ranking it at the very top*.

Simply put, both chefs and consumers love the taste of our products. Need more proof? After celebrity chef David Chang added Impossible Burger to one of his restaurant menus, he told Eater.com(opens in a new tab), "First and foremost, we think this [Impossible™ meat] makes a delicious burger." Then, restaurant critic Ryan Sutton named the White Castle slider made with our products "one of the country's best fast-food burgers, period(opens in a new tab)." There’s perhaps no better endorsement of the incomparable flavor of Impossible Burger than that.

Myth #2: It won't work on my menu

Foodservice operators of all sizes love experiencing the versatility of Impossible™ meat made from plants firsthand. Chef and New York Times food writer J. Kenji López-Alt,(opens in a new tab) co-owner of Wursthall in California, recently declared modern plant-based meat products "among the most important technological leaps" that he has witnessed in his career. 

Currently on the menu at Wursthall is an Impossible™ Turkish-ish Sausage(opens in a new tab) spiced with cumin, chile flakes, and sumac in a split-top bun and topped with arugula, sumac onions, pickled chiles, and aquafaba mayo. He has also discovered plant-based meats make an excellent substitute for ground beef or pork in dishes as diverse as:

  • Chili

  • Ragù Bolognese

  • Tamale Pie 

  • Sloppy Joes

That’s just scratching the surface when it comes to the flexibility of Impossible products— from nachos to meatballs, lasagna, tacos & meatloaf, the possibilities are truly endless. 

Jamba Juice Impossible™ Handwich, image courtesy of Jamba Juice website(opens in a new tab)

But Impossible Foods is more than just burgers. Impossible Sausage comes in pre-cooked, pre-seasoned patties that offer a variety of options for breakfast, including breakfast sandwiches(opens in a new tab), breakfast burritos(opens in a new tab), egg and sausage croissants(opens in a new tab) and handcakes(opens in a new tab). Like the Impossible Burger, Impossible Sausage is a 1:1 substitute for pork sausage, and in a test of over 200 consumers, an Impossible Sausage breakfast sandwich was preferred over the same breakfast sandwich build made with the leading pork sausage**.  

Whether these products inspire you to create new recipes or incorporate them into existing dishes, they’re sure to satisfy both new and regular customers.

Are you ready to shake up your menu, too? Request a sample(opens in a new tab), or keep reading to find out why Impossible Foods + your menu = a match made in heaven.

Myth #3: Meat-eaters won't like it

Chef Sarah Schafer, owner of Oregon restaurant Irving Street Kitchen, was skeptical when her general manager suggested she experiment with plant-based meats. “I was one of those meat-eaters that was like, ‘There’s no way you can take my beef away,’” she told The Kitchn(opens in a new tab). “I fought it tooth and nail.”

She was hooked after taking a chance and giving it a try. And, to her surprise, she finds Impossible Burger is actually more popular with meat-eaters than with vegetarians or vegans. "They're like, 'Oh my God, this is just like eating a burger.' It has an iron-y flavor to it because of the heme,” she explained to the cooking website(opens in a new tab). It’s no wonder 76% of Impossible™ trialists say our products satisfy like traditional meat***.  

Impossible Burger is more popular with meat-eaters than with vegetarians or vegans

Her observations about plant-based meat’s acceptance among meat-eaters are also consistent with the data. According to a 2019 study by NPD Group, (opens in a new tab)90% of consumers who eat plant-based meat don't identify as vegetarian or vegan. Across the country, non-animal meat products continue to grow in popularity among health and environmentally- conscious meat-eaters who want to reduce their consumption. 

With 40% of US adults actively reducing it and 39% considering it𛲅, it’s clear that consumers are changing their eating habits and that alternative meat consumption isn’t a trend—it’s here to stay. 

Myth #4: People won't buy it

Understandably, it might feel risky to shake up your restaurant menu during this time of upheaval within the industry. But because the pandemic has more than doubled business conducted through food delivery apps(opens in a new tab), the timing has never been better.

One of the most prominent players in the industry, Grubhub, analyzed 30 million orders for its new "Year in Food(opens in a new tab)" trend report and discovered plant-based meat products increased in popularity by an astounding 463 percent in 2020. Plant-based burgers were among the top 10 fastest-growing menu items, expanding by a whopping 362% in the past four years and debuting as the second most popular food ordered on GrubHub in 2020.

The data also proves that consumers are hungry for Impossible products at their local restaurants. In a survey of customers who visited restaurants serving Impossible™ menu items in 2020, 52% said they decided to order Impossible products before arriving𛲅𛲅.

Some restaurants selling Impossible Burger have even reported(opens in a new tab) up to a 36% month over month increase in same-store sales after adding it to the menu.

Still not convinced? A spokesperson for Burger King called the 2019 roll-out of the Impossible™ Whopper®one of the most successful product launches in brand history,(opens in a new tab)” spurring its best quarter of sales growth in four years(opens in a new tab). In fact, the Impossible Whopper has been such a hit that it recently debuted in Burger King locations across Canada, as well.

Burger King isn’t the only national chain to strike gold with Impossible Foods. Jill Adams, vice president of marketing at Qdoba(opens in a new tab) shared, “Our Impossible™ offering appeals to both meat lovers and vegans, while also delivering on the big, bold flavors that we’re known for at Qdoba.” Following a test roll-out, the chain learned their customers loved Impossible products so much that they decided to add them to menus across the country in 2019. (opens in a new tab)

Are you ready to shake up your menu, too? Request a sample(opens in a new tab) today to see how Impossible Foods can help you attract more customers and grow your business.


Sources:

*August 2020, Impossible Foods Operator Tracker

**In a test of over 200 consumers, an Impossible™ Sausage Patty Made from Plants breakfast sandwich was preferred 54% to 46% over the same breakfast sandwich build made with the leading pork sausage

***In a home usage study, 76% of 254 US consumers said our product satisfied their beef cravings as well as or better than ground beef from cows

𛲅Sep. 2020, YouGov Profiles

𛲅𛲅2020, In the Wild Field Study, MFour

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2021 State of Meat in Foodservice Industry Report