By Monika Ghosh and Sharon Lewis This article is the last of a four-part Tech’s Year in Review series reviewing developments across industries in 2020. It discusses the world of healthtech and biotech, foodtech and agritech, and sustainability. This article is the last of a four-part [...]
The spotlight is on plant-based meat
Plant-based meat and cheese startup Impossible Foods has raised close to US$500 million in a Series F round which closed late last week, the company disclosed in a statement on March 17. The round was led by new investor Mirae Asset Global Investments, and included existing investors Khosla Ventures, Horizons Ventures, and Temasek, it added.
A part of the funds will be focused towards expanding research, retail and manufacturing. It will also help Impossible Foods “continue to thrive in a volatile macroeconomic environment, including the current COVID-19 pandemic,” Impossible Foods Chief Financial Officer David Lee said in the statement. Inclusive of the latest funding, the company has raised $1.3 billion in since its founding in 2011.
“Our mission is to replace the world’s most destructive technology–the use of animals in food production–by 2035,” Impossible Foods Founder and CEO Dr. Patrick O. Brown said in the statement.
The company is keen on making plant-based meat the primary meat alternative. The funding comes on the heels of a slew of developments which include:
- Launching Impossible Sausage and Impossible Pork. The funding will go towards commercializing these next-generation meat alternatives.
- Slashing prices by 15% to U.S. food-service providers early this month, in a bid to make their plant-based meat more affordable and competitive with respect to animal meat prices.
- Partnering with Disney to put their plant-based burger on menus at three Disney properties in the U.S. Other big names on the Impossible Foods roster include Burger King and DoorDash.
While it did not disclose any specifics on how the COVID-19 outbreak has affected business, the startup said that it has taken all necessary measures to ensure the safety of employees and customers during the pandemic. This includes the establishment of a task force that monitors the global and local situation, and keeps the company’s policies and practices in line with safety requirements.
Plant-based meat is touted as an alternative to the environmentally-devastating animal meat industry, where reports of animal cruelty routinely emerge. With environmentally conscious eaters growing in number, the industry is expected to grow to nearly $320 million in market valuation by 2025, according to a report by Global Market Insights Inc.
The opportunities are big, and Impossible Foods is keen to tap in. The startup’s investors “recognize an extraordinary opportunity to invest in the platform that will transform the global food system,” added Brown in the statement. With a promise of sustainable and cruelty-free food, it may soon be possible to have your fake meat, and eat it too.