Retail

Impossible Foods' COVID-19 Impacts Mitigated By Drive-Thrus, DTC Sales

Impossible Foods

Impossible Foods’ restaurant business has been impacted by the coronavirus, but Pat Brown, the company's CEO and founder, said in a televised interview that it has not been affected as negatively as “the industry at large.” He said the result was partly because “a number of our customers have a significant drive-thru business.”

The plant-based food company has also been helping restaurants to weather the health crisis and the major drop in sit-down business by assisting them with selling its product directly to consumers. Brown said that “hundreds of them are doing that and quite successfully.”

The Impossible Burger has had an expansive year, as it made inroads with its supermarket debut and eateries such as Burger King with the Impossible Whopper. Those growth efforts, however, were greatly expanded this week with news that the Impossible Burger will now be available at over 1,700 supermarkets throughout the country owned by Kroger.

Impossible Foods Chief Financial Officer David Lee told Karen Webster in a conversation just before the announcement that it's an incredible opportunity.

The guiding principles on which the company was started in 2011 were to disrupt the $1.7 trillion worldwide meat market with an alternative choice for meat, provide an offering that tastes like meat, is purchased in a supermarket where shoppers purchase meat and be attractive to meat-eaters.

Lee said, “About 95 percent of the consumers and [of] the impossible burger are self-declared meat-eaters.”

In separate news, total U.S. sales of plant-based meat substitutes throughout the industry have rocketed. Nielsen, the consumer data organization, noted a 200 percent year-over-year increase in plant-based meat sales in the week concluding April 18 in addition to a 265 percent jump over a timeframe of eight weeks.

The increases have come as the closures of slaughterhouses because of worker illnesses threaten production. And, according to one study, 20 percent of a major quick-service restaurant (QSR) chain’s U.S. eateries are out of beef.

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