“The mission of Impossible Foods is very simple. It’s to completely replace animals in the food system by 2035.”
By now, most of you have heard about the Impossible Burger.
I imagine many of you have tried it. Arguably the ‘beefiest’ plant-based patty, even the most attuned palate has trouble believing it isn’t real meat. Now ubiquitous at fine dining establishments and fast food franchises alike, it’s a global phenomenon.
Today we explore the mission behind the burger with Impossible Foods founder & CEO Pat Brown, the man responsible for upending everything you thought you knew about plant-based meat, on a mission to forge a better environmental future for all.
A world-renowned geneticist, Pat is a former Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and Professor of Biochemistry at Stanford University. He is also a founder of Lyrical Foods, maker of Kite Hill artisanal nut milk-based cheeses and a founder of the Public Library of Science (PLOS), a nonprofit publisher that pioneered the open-access business model. Pat was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2002, and is a member of the Institute of Medicine. His numerous accolades include the American Cancer Society Medal of Honor, and the NAS Award in Molecular Biology.
Moved to action by the urgent need to redress global climate change, Pat founded Impossible Foods with one clear goal: to eliminate animal agriculture — inarguably one of the biggest contributors to planetary warming — by providing delicious, nutritious, and environmentally friendly alternatives to meat and dairy directly from plants.
The mission statement is ambitious, some would even say audacious. But his impact is already undeniable — and he’s just getting started.
Today he shares his story.
This is a broad and far-reaching conversation that covers Pat’s background and the impetus behind Impossible Foods.
We cover the company’s initial success in converting high-end chefs, the subsequent penetration of the fast food industrial complex, and the entrepreneurial difficulties of rapid growth and meeting demand at scale.
We then turn attention to Pat’s mission to redress climate change. The important need to replace food from livestock with more environmental friendly alternatives. And what is required to achieve that, while meeting the finicky palate requirements of the average consumer.
Irrespective of your opinion on plant-based meat analogues, the deleterious environmental impact of intensive animal agriculture is irrefutable. Seismic changes to our food systems are mandatory if we want to responsibly redress global climate change. And each of us has the power to promote these changes, beginning with our daily food choices.
I really enjoyed this exchange. A compelling companion piece to last week’s conversation with Paul Hawken, my sit down with Beyond Meat founder and CEO Ethan Brown and my episodes with Good Food Institute founder Bruce Friedrich (RRP 286 & 402), I encourage all of you to listen with an open and appreciative mind.
Peace + Plants,
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Connect with IMPOSSIBLE Foods:
- The New York Times: Behold The Beefless “Impossible Whopper”
- Wall Street Journal: The Impossible Burger Is Hot. Pity the Veggie Burger.
- CNBC: The Impossible Whopper is driving steady traffic to Burger King, data shows
- CNBC: (Video) Full interview with Impossible Foods CEO Patrick Brown
- TEDMED: Saving The planet Takes Straying From The Herd
- Vox: Impossible Foods’ meatless burgers have made it a $2 billion company
- New Yorker: Can A Burger Help Solve Climate Change?
- Inc.: Impossible Foods’ Founder Didn’t Want to Be an Entrepreneur, but His $2 Billion Idea Was Hard to Resist
- Eater: The Shadowy Beef Lobbyist Fighting Against Plant-Based ‘Meat’
- TIME: Meet the Founder of Impossible Foods, Whose Meat-Free Burgers Could Transform the Way We Eat
- Endgadget: Impossible Foods’ rising empire of almost-meat
- Financial Times: The Impossible mission — to save the planet with a burger
Related Podcasts You Might Enjoy:
- RRP #136: Ethan Brown: Reinventing How To Feed The World
- RRP #342: What Is “Clean Meat”? Paul Shapiro On The Future Of Food
- RRP #286: Bruce Friedrich Is Innovating The Future of Food
- RRP #402: Bruce Friedrich On The Clean Meat Revolution
- RRP #176: Cowspiracy: How Animal Agriculture Is Destroying The Planet & What You Can Do About It
- RRP #240: Dr. Melanie Joy On Going Beyond Carnism: Why We Love Dogs Eat Pigs And Wear Cows
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