In its latest Series E funding round, US-based Impossible Foods has secured US$300 million led by current investor Temasek Holdings and Li Ka-shing’s personal venture fund Horizons Ventures.
According to The Straits Times (ST), this is the food-tech startup’s fifth equity funding round, bringing the total amount raised to US$750 million to date.
With this funding round, Impossible Foods is now valued at $2 billion, according to this.
The fresh injection will be used to accelerate hiring and capacity expansion at its plant in Oakland, California, among other activities.
Joined by the two institutional investors is a line of star-studded celebrities including Jay-Z, Trevor Noah, Katy Perry, Serena Williams, Jaden Smith, Ruby Rose, and Zedd.
It’s also worth noting that past investors include Bill Gates and Google Ventures, the venture capital arm of Alphabet, Google’s parent company.
Impossible Foods is known for its plant-based meat that bleeds, tastes, and cooks like real meat, thanks to the heme enzymes that the company makes by fermenting yeast.
This year, they released Impossible Burger 2.0, a new recipe that consists of four major ingredients: soy protein concentrate, coconut oil, sunflower oil, and natural flavours.
Voracious Appetite In US
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Burger King is testing the #impossiblewhopper in St. Louis, because if it can work there it can work pretty much anywhere lol. While I was on my way out, I tested it along side one of their regular Whoppers (my mom and I split both), and they were indistinguishable from one another. The future looks bright. I hope this catches on! Now I’m not going to say that whoppers taste great, because sadly they don’t, but in an intoxicated pinch I’d hit that! Lol
The funding news comes after Impossible Foods planted a partnership with Burger King in the States in April to launch the Impossible Whopper – the fast food chain’s signature beef patty is replaced with the Impossible’s soy-based patty.
In the US, competition is cooking for plant-based meat and other meat alternatives as people are growing conscious about how their meat arrive on their plate, beyond the vocal veganism movement in recent years.
Impossible Foods’ rival, Beyond Meat, has successfully launched its initial public offering this month, according to Financial Times (FT).
Rising three times its list price of US$25 in two weeks’ time, the demand for meat substitutes in that market has catapulted the firm’s market capitalisation to about US$4 billion.
But that isn’t spoiling Impossible Foods’ meat as its partnership with Burger King seems to be sprouting good growth.
The Impossible Burger is set to roll out “to more than 7,000 restaurants, doubling Impossible’s US footprint”, FT reported.
CEO of Restaurant Brands, Burger King’s owner, José Cil told FT that the Impossible Whopper is attracting new customers and that the group “was targeting an international roll-out before the end of the year”.
Taste Test For Singapore
Founded in 2011 by Stanford University biochemistry professor, Pat Brown, Impossible Foods aims to eliminate the use of animals in food by 2035.
The startup’s signature product, the Impossible Burger launched in Gordon Ramsay’s Singapore restaurant, Bread Street Kitchen, in March 2019.
Now, it has teamed up with seven other F&B restaurants in Singapore including local rapper Sheikh Haikel’s FatPapas, Potato Head, and Park Bench Deli.
Speaking to Vulcan Post, Haikel said that FatPapas’ sales have improved with the introduction of the new Impossible Menu.
Personally, however, for Impossible Burgers to reach the wider mass and win the ‘flavour’ of Singaporeans, they have to make more efforts to be accessible.
When they decide to work with upscale restaurants and tie up with casual dining eateries that typically cost about $12 and above for a meal, it sets a perception that only a certain type of demographic can afford it.
But there is no doubt that with the entrance of Impossible Foods in Singapore, doors for more food innovations have opened here (and we can say goodbye to soulless mock meat).
One Singapore startup, Shiok Meats, is growing shrimp in their labs and will eventually work to make lobster and crab meat too.
Business Insider wrote that this could lower the costs of seafood for consumers if successful, with the startup looking to cut 99% of the price of one kilogram of lab-grown shrimp.
All in all, the growth of the food-tech scene here is something that we can look forward to even if Impossible Foods has no plans yet to expand or develop its presence in Singapore aside from its F&B partnerships.
Besides Singapore, the Impossible Burger is sold in restaurants in Hong Kong and Macau.
It plans to launch the Impossible Burger in retail outlets later this year.
Featured Image Credit: Financial Times