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Global AgInvestingreports:

Impossible Foods announced it has closed on another $200 million in funding through a Series G led by new investor Coatue.

Existing investors Mirae Asset Global Investments and Temasek also contributed to the rounds, as did additional new investor XN.

This round, which brings total funding for the company to nearly $1.5 billion since its launch in 2011, comes less than six months after Impossible raised a massive, oversubscribed $500 million Series F in March that was led by South Korea's Mirae Asset Global Investments.

Founded by Dr. Patrick O. Brown, a biochemistry professor with Stanford and former pediatrician, Impossible Foods uses modern technology to make meat from plants, and in the process of sustainably feeding a growing population, is able to do its part to restore natural ecosystems. Impossible Burger contains no animal hormones or antibiotics, and is kosher, halal, and gluten-free certified. Its manufacturing process also uses 96 percent less land, 87 percent less water, and produces 89 percent less greenhouse gas emissions compared to animal beef production.

"Our mission is to replace the world's most destructive technology - the use of animals in food production - by 2035," said Dr. Brown, M.D., Ph.D., founder and CEO of Impossible Foods.

"To do that, we need to double production every year, on average, for 15 years and double down on research and innovation. The market has its ups and downs, but the global demand for food is always there, and the urgency of our mission only grows. Our investors not only believe in our mission, but they also recognize an extraordinary opportunity to invest in the platform that will transform the global food system."

In a statement, Impossible Foods said that it intends to use the capital from this round, in part, to expand its R&D programs; to accelerate the scaling of its manufacturing capabilities; to increase its retail presence; to increase its availability in key international markets; and to accelerate the commercialization and development of its next-generation plant-based products, such as the recently released Impossible Pork Made From Plants.

"The use of animals to make food is the most destructive technology on Earth, a leading driver of climate change and the primary cause of a catastrophic global collapse of wildlife populations and biodiversity," said Brown.

"Impossible Foods' mission is to replace that archaic system by making the most delicious, nutritious and sustainable meats in the world, directly from plants. To do that, Impossible Foods needs to sustain our exponential growth in production and sales, and invest significantly in R&D. Our investors believe in our mission to transform the global food system - and they recognize an extraordinary economic opportunity."

Demand for the Impossible Burger, the company's flagship product, continues to climb, as new strategic partners grow, resulting in an unprecedented sales surge last year that quadrupled production at Impossible Foods' facility in Oakland, California, and at multiple co-manufacturing plants.

A key sign-on was Burger King, which continues to sell its Impossible Whopper at more than 7,000 of its locations, where the item has exceeded sales expectations. Meanwhile DoorDash, the top food delivery service in the country, launched a dedicated Impossible Cuisine category featuring merchants that offer Impossible menu items.

After making its debut in grocery stores in September 2019, The Impossible Burger also quickly became the top selling item on the East and West Coasts, becoming the top seller at Wegman's Fairway Markets, and Gelson's Markets, and Disney recently sealed an agreement to sell Impossible Foods at its U.S. resorts and on its Disney Cruise Line.

In March of this year, just as the pandemic hit the U.S., the Impossible Burger was on the shelves of 150 stores nationwide. Today it is being sold in 8,000 stores, representing a 60X expansion in its retail footprint in six months.

A few months later, in June of this year the company also launched its direct-to-consumer e-commerce site with 95 percent of its customers reporting that they would be likely to be return customers on the site.

The deepening of the connection between consumers and their food supply chains, along with a rising popularity of veganism, concerns over animal rights, and awareness around the hormones, antibiotic usage, and lack of sustainability inherent in the global livestock industry, have pushed many people in Western markets to look toward alternative ways to get protein into their diet.

Another driver is climate change. Global protein consumption is expected to climb at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.7 percent, reaching 943 million tons by 2054, according to Lux Research. On a global scale, greenhouse gas emissions generated by the animal agriculture industry in place to meet this demand account for 14.5 percent of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions - more than the worldwide transportation sector.

As demand climbs, scaling is achieved, price parity with animal meat options becomes a reality, and the company expands into new food categories, Impossible cut its costs to distributors by 15 percent - driving demand even harder.

"2020 has been a year of explosive growth for us, but this is just the beginning," said David Lee, CFO, Impossible Foods. "We plan to create plant-based upgrades for every major category of animal-derived food products. This investment will allow us to continue to develop and commercialize the technology that will enable that transformation."

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