CES and the Impossible Burger 2.0
Last week, over 160,000 people attended the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas – a tech trade show with exhibits covering over 2.7 million sq. ft. The show highlighted 1) bigger, brighter, denser TVs, 2) the battle between Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant, 3) automation and connectivity for cars, trucks and the home, 4) innovations in virtual reality and gaming, 5) services for smart cities and more.
Among the mix, a non-electronic offering received significant media attention - Impossible Foods’ next-generation, plant-based meat. The firm's Chief Science Officer David Lipman said “This new product has better flavor, better texture — more of a chew — it has better nutrition … It has lower fat, lower sodium, higher quality protein … The new product is pretty much how you would use hamburger.”
Comments from the pres included New York Post: “The most impressive product launch at CES 2019 isn’t a drone or smartphone. It’s a veggie burger. Impossible Foods unveiled its latest recipe for its famous faux-meat burger, and The Post was on hand to take a bite before it hits a restaurant near you. And, yes, the Impossible Burger 2.0 made a believer out of this veggie burger skeptic.”
Engadget’s Best of the Best at CES: “It's surprising to see a burger win best of show at a tech conference, but the new Impossible Burger is no ordinary slab of meat. The second-generation version of the plant-based meal puts it far closer to the real thing. The new formula makes it a viable substitute ingredient in any ground meat dish, and Impossible Foods plans to bring it to restaurants and grocery stores across the country this year. It's plant-based, better for you and will help the planet, but none of that would matter if it didn't taste so good. Thankfully, the Impossible Burger 2.0 does.”
Gizmondo: “This plant-based beef substitute is designed to look like meat, grill like meat, and taste like meat … at a buzzy event in Las Vegas, I tried the latest iteration, the Impossible Burger 2.0, and I’m somewhat baffled to admit: It’s good.”
Tom’s Guide: “So when I bit into the Impossible Burger 2.0, the new version of a popular beef substitute, I was prepared to be underwhelmed … As an omnivore who tries to keep meat consumption to a minimum but loves a great burger, I am this product’s target market. And every bite was delicious.”
Note: Other firms pursuing this market opportunity include Beyond Meat, Clara Foods, Memphis Meats, Mosa Meats, Perfect Day and Supermeat.
The potential for meat and other food alternatives to address environmental issues such as less land use, reduced methane emissions, etc. is significant - and could drive a new socio-economic mega-trend.
To expand the market opportunity, the pricing for food alternative needs to become more cost competitive with traditional market offerings - this challenge should be addressed as the industry scales up.
As the alternative food market grows, market participants will likely encounter intellectual property challenges and increased regulatory scrutiny.