Impossible Foods Receives Approval for Color Additive Petition
FDA approval clears the way for use of heme in future applications
Impossible Foods received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration for use of a key ingredient as a color additive, clearing the way for new uses in future plant-based foods.
Impossible Foods makes meat from plants -- with a tiny fraction of the environmental footprint of meat from animals. The food technology startup combines scientific innovation with ingredients from nature to create wholesome and nutritious food, restore natural ecosystems and feed a growing population sustainably.
The company’s first product, the Impossible Burger, debuted in 2016 and is now on menus in about 10,000 restaurants in the United States, Hong Kong, Singapore and Macau.
Impossible Foods plans to launch the award-winning Impossible Burger in select retail outlets in September. Additional details about this highly anticipated retail debut we be announced as the launch approaches. Stay tuned.
In July 2018, Impossible Foods received a no-questions letter from the FDA, which agreed with the unanimous conclusion of a panel of food-safety experts that its key ingredient -- soy leghemoglobin -- is safe to eat.
Soy leghemoglobin is a protein that carries “heme,” an iron-containing molecule essential for life that occurs naturally in every animal and plant. Impossible Foods’ scientists discovered that heme is the “magic ingredient” that makes meat taste like meat, and enables the Impossible Burger to satisfy meat lovers’ cravings.
Before issuing its July 2018 no-questions letter, the FDA reviewed comprehensive test data about soy leghemoglobin to assess its status as “generally recognized as safe,” or GRAS. As a standard process, the FDA posted Impossible Foods’ full 1,066-page report of evidence for its safety on its website for public review. FDA researchers also reviewed the evaluations of top food safety experts, who unanimously concluded multiple times that soy leghemoglobin is safe to eat and compliant with all federal food-safety regulations.
In issuing the no-questions letter last year, the FDA noted that soy leghemoglobin could be considered a “color additive” in some potential future applications. Federal regulations require color additive approval on all ingredients, with limited exceptions, used to impart color to food -- from synthetic substances to fruit extracts.
Even though the FDA had already reviewed and concurred with the evidence for the safety of soy leghemoglobin, federal regulations require a specific regulatory process, separate from its GRAS process, to approve the use of an ingredient as a color additive. Impossible Foods submitted a color additive petition to FDA to ensure maximum flexibility as its products and business continue to evolve. The FDA accepted that submission in early November 2018.
Impossible Foods Launches Co-manufacturing Collaboration With OSI
Collaboration with OSI gives Impossible Foods access to additional manufacturing capacity for the award-winning Impossible™ Burger
Impossible Foods launched a co-manufacturing collaboration today with global food provider OSI Group, one of the largest food producers in the world.
OSI will begin producing Impossible Foods’ flagship product, the Impossible Burger, starting next month, adding short-term capacity to Impossible Foods’ plant in Oakland. OSI will continue to expand production of Impossible Foods’ flagship product throughout 2019 and thereafter.
OSI can source, develop, produce and distribute custom food solutions worldwide. The privately held company based in Aurora, Ill., has more than 65 facilities in 17 countries.
The co-manufacturing deal comes amid unprecedented demand for the company’s flagship product, the plant-based Impossible Burger, which debuted at Chef David Chang’s Momofuku Nishi and other world-class restaurants in 2016.
At the International Consumer Electronics Show in January 2019, Impossible Foods launched the award-winning and “shockingly good” Impossible Burger 2.0 -- the company’s first significant product upgrade. The Impossible Burger, the first food ever featured at CES’ roster of game-changing technologies, won the show’s top prizes.
Since the launch of the 2.0 version six months ago, Impossible Foods’ sales have surged. Growth has come from every sales category in which the company does business -- independent restaurants, large restaurant chains such as White Castle, Cheesecake Factory and Qdoba, and non-commercial outlets such as theme parks, museums, stadiums, and college campuses. The Impossible Burger is now on menus in about 10,000 restaurants on two continents.
In many restaurants, the Impossible Burger is a top-selling item and a key driver of new foot traffic. In addition to an increasing number of restaurants that sell the Impossible Burger, chefs are expanding the number of items made from the versatile plant-based meat, with average per-store volume increasing.
In April, the world’s second largest burger chain, Burger King, debuted the Impossible Whopper in a regional test in St. Louis. The 59-unit regional test of the Impossible Whopper at Burger King restaurants in St. Louis has gone exceedingly well; the Miami-based restaurant chain intends to bring the Impossible Whopper to all 7,200 U.S. restaurants.
Since launching in Singapore in March 2019, sales have more than quadrupled in Asia. Impossible Foods’ plant-based meat is sold in a wide range of restaurants and cuisines throughout Hong Kong, Singapore, and Macau -- including internationally celebrated establishments by David Myers, Gordon Ramsay and Wolfgang Puck.
Impossible Foods plans to launch the Impossible Burger in retail outlets later this year.