On the outside, Impossible Foods’ brand-new manufacturing plant in Oakland, California, looks like all of the other nondescript warehouses bordering the massive building. But inside, the company’s founder, Pat Brown, believes a revolution is happening.
Brown, a former Stanford biochemist, used his scientific background to create fake “meat” using the active ingredient soy leghemoglobin, which he says makes the burger appealing to meat-lovers.
“We’re targeting only exclusively meat lovers,” says Brown. “Those are the only ones we care about.”
The venture-backed company recently received $75 million in funding and is backed by some of Silicon Valley’s top investors, including Alphabet‘s GV (formerly Google Ventures), Bill Gates and Khosla Ventures. The new plant makes one million pounds of “meat” every month, which is 250 times the volume the company was producing before.
The company says demand for the burgers is as red-hot as the burgers. The Impossible Burger is currently in 50 restaurants across the U.S., including Umami Burger and Momufuku. Company officials say foot traffic at some of those restaurants have increased 130% because of the Impossible Burger.
Impossible Foods’ success highlights the growth of the alternative proteins market, as companies like Clara Foods, Kite Hill, and Beyond Meat have all raised significant funding, according to CB Insights.
Brown has bigger plans in the works. Ultimately, he hopes to create more food alternatives in the lab, including fish, eggs, and dairy.
“Our mission is to completely replace animals in the food system,” says Brown.