Is this the best way to try plant-based meat?
Add Impossible Burgers to the long list of items you can get shipped to your door by Amazon or direct from Impossible. The timing is a no-brainer during the current pandemic shutdown, but also part of the longer challenge that plant-based meat companies face in normalizing their products. Here's what's in the Impossible box when it arrives at your door and how much it costs.
You don't pick and choose your order a la carte but instead select one of four available packs. The packs contain some combination of frozen patties or bulk packages of ground product that you might use for tacos or lasagna:
At launch, free two-day shipping was included with all orders, but since then free shipping is included only for orders over $75. Pork is not yet available to order online.
Perishable food is different from other online groceries: It needs to arrive in a form that inspires confidence in its safety and purity. Impossible's packaging delivers on that with a stout outer box that's emblazoned with modern graphics and positioning statements and padded on all six internal sides. A generous bag of dry ice sits atop a tightly sealed inner box that contains your order. Impossible's product has no cholesterol, but all that packaging may cause heart palpitations if you're environmentally conscious. A flyer inside the box explains how all the packaging can be recycled, composted or made into Oobleck, with the exception of the poly bag the dry ice is wrapped in.
If you want to avoid the packaging, Impossible has also announced an expansion of grocery store availability. Having started with a token 150 stores at the beginning of 2020, Impossible's burger is now sold in almost 3,000 stores. The company says it will scale that to around 7,500 by the end of 2020, including some presence in almost all large chains.
We've covered the cooking, taste, nutrition of Impossible Burgers and even trepidation around Impossible Pork felt by Muslims and whether it's too realistic for vegetarians. Now that the burgers are rolling out for delivery and being sold in stores, there are no changes to the actual product. Like most food staples, the story now is distribution and price. Impossible announced a vast expansion of restaurant availability of its Impossible Sausage: Food distribution giants DOT, Sysco and US Foods now stock Impossible Sausage for order by restaurants nationwide. The large national food distributors play a key role in influencing what most restaurants serve.
Impossible and arch-rival Beyond Meat are scrambling for ubiquity across food service, restaurant, grocery and online channels, knowing that people can't consider what they can't access. The next beachhead should be steady price reduction enabled by such sales expansion: Animal-based ground beef averages 25 cents an ounce compared to plant-based alternatives that still sell at multiples of that.