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Impossible Foods’ CEO Pat Brown has blasted some of the plant-based meat products on the market – saying he wishes they were better.
Speaking to Business Insider, Brown refused to name any brands, but said some products are ‘awful’.
He believes this is a problem, as if people try bad vegan meat, it ‘reinforces this idea that these products suck’.
A huge number of meat-alternatives have hit the market recently, including plant-based burgers from Don Lee Farms and Nestlé. Meat giant Tyson launched a range of plant-based food called Raised & Rooted.
“My feeling is these big players, big, established companies, are not where changes ever come from. When they see there’s consumer demand, they will try to jump in and take advantage of that,” Brown told Business Insider.
“On the one hand, I feel like it’s great. It’s a great sign about the demand. On the other side…I wish they would make better products, basically. Every time someone uses one of those products and it sucks, it’s a setback for Impossible Foods and plant-based meat alternatives more generally.”
2019 has been a major year for Impossible Foods, with the company’s patty being used in Burger King’s vegetarian Impossible Whopper – which features the same build as its classic Whopper, but the plant-based patty in place of beef.
The sandwich, which launched as a trial in St Louis on April 1, surpassed sales expectations, and is currently being rolled out across the US.
In addition, the burgers hit the retail market this week, and are now available at 100 Wegmans locations – as well as in two Fairway Markets – in the northeast US.
Impossible Foods controversy
The Impossible Burger is aimed at getting meat-eaters to ditch beef. It’s important to note that many vegans – and Impossible Foods itself consider the patty to be plant-based rather than vegan.
This is because in 2017, it was revealed that a key ingredient – soy leghemoglobin aka ‘heme’ – from the brand’s flagship item the Impossible Burger was fed to rats in order to test its safety. In excess of 180 rats were killed as a result of the testing.
CEO Pat Brown reacted to the controversy, publishing a statement titled The Agonizing Dilemma of Animal Testing.
Brown, who has been vegan for more than 15 years, said the core of his company’s mission is to ‘eliminate exploitation of animals in the food system’, as well as reduce the impact of animal agriculture on the environment.
“Among the thousands of animal species surveyed every decade by the World Wildlife Fund, the total number of living individual wild animals today is less than half what it was 40 years ago,” he added.
“This wildlife loss is overwhelmingly due to the exploitation of animals for food, including hunting, fishing and especially the replacement of wildlife habitat by animal farming.”