Impossible Foods has endeavored to make delicious burgers directly from plants. The company’s mission is to transform the global food system to support the planet and growing human population. According to Impossible Foods, animal agriculture occupies nearly half of the world’s land, making it one of the greatest threats to wildlife and biodiversity, and is responsible for 15% of greenhouse gas emissions. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), growing plants for livestock production consumes 25% of the world’s fresh water. Impossible Foods predicts that as our population grows to over 9 billion by 2050, the demand for meat, fish and dairy will continue to increase.
During an 18-month sabbatical in 2009, Pat Brown decided to switch the course of his career to address the urgent problem of climate change. In particular, he wanted to make the global food system more sustainable by producing meat and dairy products from plants which have a much lower environmental footprint. Pat tried to raise awareness in Washington and in academia, but realized that he needed to create a consumer movement based on delicious and sustainable foods. He brought together a team of top
scientists, chefs, farmers, and flavor experts to analyze meat at the molecular level to determine precisely why meat smells, handles, cooks and tastes the way it does. The team focused first on beef, particularly ground beef in the form of a hamburger, due to beef’s large environmental footprint and the burger’s iconic status in global food culture. The company developed a world-class archive of proprietary research and technology. The first product, the Impossible Burger, debuted in restaurants in 2016. The company plans to expand to other categories of meat and dairy products in all key markets globally.
“Getting kosher certification is an important milestone,” said Impossible Foods CEO and Founder Dr. Patrick O. Brown. “We want the Impossible Burger to be ubiquitous, and that means it must be affordable and accessible to everyone — including people who have food restrictions for religious reasons.”
Patrick (“Pat”) O. Brown, M.D. Ph.D – Professor Emeritus in Stanford University’s Biochemistry Department; co-founder of the Public Library of Science (PLOS); inventor of the DNA microarray; former investigator at
Howard Hughes Medical Institute; holds BS, MD, and PhD degrees of University of Chicago.