Business News: Impossible Foods punches back against report calling fake meat a ‘fad’

Impossible Foods said it has generated record sales since 2016 when its fake meat first appeared on restaurant menus – and added that it’s tired of being lumped in with its struggling competitor, Beyond Meat.

In a Sunday blog postImpossible Foods punched back at a Bloomberg Businessweek report last week that described the sector as “another fad.”

The report cited the abysmal financial performance of Beyond Meat over the past year and change, as well declining sales of fake meat at supermarkets — down 14% — and plant-based burgers in restaurants — down 9% —  in 2022, according to industry data.”

But Redwood City, Calif.-based Impossible Foods, which is privately held, says those numbers don’t describe its own performance.

Demand for Impossible Foods patties in restaurants – including Burger King, Starbucks and Applebee’s – have grown each year since 2016 and sales of its products at supermarkets have grown by 50%, according to the company.

Business News: Impossible Foods punches back against report calling fake meat a ‘fad’
Burger King’s Impossible Whopper has increased consumer awareness of the brand, the company said.
NurPhoto via Getty Images

“Our products have only been in grocery stores for the past 2-3 years,” according to the blog post. “Since our commercial debut we haven’t done any sustained marketing or advertising to grow awareness. Aside from a little help from our friends (at Burger King) our audience has mostly found their way to us on their own,” according to the blog post.

Beyond Meat’s stock price has gotten crushed, down to about $16 or 75% off from a year ago and is having a “halo effect on the entire sector,” according to restaurant analyst Mark Kalinowski.

“At some point [a company] has to stand up for itself, particularly if it’s not experiencing such declines,” Kalinowski said of Impossible Foods.

Impossible Foods says it is sold at more than 30,000 grocery stores including Costco, Trader Joe’s, Walmart and Target — up from just 150 in 2020 — and that more than 45,000 restaurants offer its products.

A vegetable-based burger patty cooks on a griddle.
The plant-based sector has recently been criticized for being “too woke,” according to analysts.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

“It’s frustrating that the category is kind of getting a bad rap,” Impossible Foods chief executive Peter McGuinness told trade publication Food last year. “But some of the other players have their own issues that are not applicable to us.”

Beyond Meat has suffered a series of recent setbacks, including reports that its manufacturing facilities are riddled with mold and that its former chief operating officer bit another man’s nose at a college football game. According to one analyst, the industry is seen as “too woke” by consumers, hampering sales.

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