Silicon Valley Startup Believes Its Faux Meat Will Solve The Global Beef Crisis
Building The Impossible Burger
Impossible Foods is taking a very scientific approach to solving what they believe is looming global meat crisis. Founder and CEO Patrick Brown is a former Stanford biochemist who believes that every aspect of a beef hamburger can be replicated via compounds found in plants.
His vision is not simply about protein. Brown wanted his Impossible Burger to ooze fat when it is cooked, sizzle on the grill and have the same texture, color and odor of beef. After five years of research in developing the burger, he believes recipes like his will eventually be a cheaper alternative to beef.
“The demand for meat is going through the roof, and the world is not going to be able to satisfy that using animals—there’s just not enough space, not enough water,” Brown said, according to NPR.
Impossible Foods’ investors include Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) founder Bill Gates.
But, What Is It?
Brown and his team of scientists analyzed beef at a molecular level, and Brown is convinced that Impossible Foods can identify and mass-produce every compound in beef using plant products.
For example, heme is an iron-containing molecule found in animal blood, which gives it its red color and makes meat appear slightly pink prior to cooking.
Brown isolated a gene found in soybeans that codes for the heme protein and spliced it into yeast and now has massive vats of yeast that produce the heme used in the Impossible Burger.
To replicate the fat found in beef Impossible Foods uses a combination of coconut oil and wheat and potato protein.
While the Impossible Burger is certainly an impressive vegetarian offering, Brown has high hopes that his company will eventually be able to compete head-to-head with beef among carnivorous consumers as well.
Disclosure: The author holds no position in the stocks mentioned.
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