Burger King's vegetarian Impossible Whopper debuts Monday in more than 100 stores across the San Francisco Bay Area. Before today, people who wanted to eat the fast food chain's version of the plant-based flame-grilled burger had to travel to Miami, Columbus or Montgomery.
The partnership between the two companies makes sense, Impossible Foods' CEO Pat Brown said in an interview. Seeing as Burger King's massive reach with more than 17,000 locations in more than 100 countries should help him achieve his goal to "replace animals in the food system by 2035."
"Anywhere any meat product is sold globally, we want to have better products," Brown said. "A nontrivial fraction of meat sales overall are in fast food restaurants."
Impossible Foods initially focused on burgers because they're one of the most popular meat products. Brown said half of all beef sold in the US is ground beef. But that doesn't mean the company isn't exploring other animal products.
"It was a natural choice for us to start with ground beef, but in no way is that really our focus," Brown said. "We have ongoing R & D efforts to make a much wider range of products."
Proof of that? Impossible Food now has 110 scientists working in its labs at its Redwood City, California, headquarters. In the next 12 to 18 months, Brown said that number will increase by about 50%.
Originally published June 10, 3 a.m. PT. Update, 11:11 a.m.: Adds additional information.