'Impossible' Bleeding Burger Creator Wants Meat-Free World

According to the CEO of Impossible Foods, the company that invented the bleeding veggie burger, capturing the attention of vegans isn't enough. He hopes to one day replace all meat in the human diet. Impossible? You decide. 


May 17 2019, Updated 1:09 p.m. ET

People eat a lot of meat. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) the average person ate 75 pounds of meat as of 2014, and that number is only slated to rise. By 2024, the average person will consume about 78 pounds of meat per year. For those concerned about the amount of meat humans eat, and those who hope to see less meat consumption in the future, these numbers are frightening.

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Why would some people like to see less global meat consumption? There are a variety of familiar reasons, ranging from concerns over animal rights to concerns over health. But one newer reason, which has come to light in recent years, is that meat production isn't great for the environment. In an age when more people are becoming concerned about climate change, it seems relevant that, according to The Guardian, around 7.5 percent of all CO2 emissions on earth are caused by meat production. 

Producing meat, particular beef, also takes a large amount of land, which could otherwise serve as a home for wild animals. Many species around the world are threatened by loss of habitat, some of which is a direct result of meat production, according to a study published in the journal Science of the Total Environment.  

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Still, people clearly love meat, and that love poses an obstacle that will make global change difficult; some might even say, impossible. But not Pat Brown, CEO of Impossible Foods. His company, which rose to fame in 2016 with its invention of a veggie burger that "bleeds," is used to staring into the face of seemingly insurmountable odds,and creating inventive foods in spite of them. 

After all, before 2016 many would have been skeptical at the possibility of a bleeding veggie burger. Now, Brown says that Impossible Foods is once again looking to do--you guessed it--the impossible. In a recent interview with The Guardian, Brown stated that he wants Impossible Foods to capture 100 percent of the meat market. In other words, he wants his company to replace all meat in the human diet. 

"We’re after 100% of the market, not a niche of people avoiding meat or being health conscious," Brown told The Guardian. "To capture the whole market you have to deliver whatever it is that consumers value from that category of product. People have been making veggie burgers forever but not trying to make something that replicates the crave-able experience that meat lovers enjoy."  

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Brown's ambitiousness should come as no surprise to those familiar with Impossible Foods. According to the company's website, Impossible Foods has studied and attempted to replicate nearly every part of the meat-eating experience with their plant based burgers, from the way meat sizzles in the pan to the smell of the cooked patty to the juicy first bite, hence the famously bleeding "Impossible Burger." 

Even the company's tongue-in-cheek name is a reference to its founder's ambition. But with Impossible Burgers only currently available in select restaurants in New York, L.A., Las Vegas, Texas, and San Francisco, Brown's company has a ways to go yet in capturing the entire meat market. Impossible Burgers are not yet available in grocery stores nor online, but according to the company's website, Impossible Foods aims to make the burgers "accessible and available widely" soon. Whether Brown's ultimate ambition will prove successful or impossible will likely hinge on how widely his company's burgers are distributed and whether their taste is able to live up to their fame. 


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