The meatless ground meat substitute will be appearing in stores across Southern California as the first step in a phased nationwide rollout on Friday.
With the step into groceries, Impossible Foods moves into direct competition with its bigger, publicly traded rival Beyond Meat, which is already selling its patties and sausages in major stores nationwide.
Impossible Foods, which has had some supply chain hiccups as it began to increase its production in the wake of large deals with fast food chains, will be taking a phased approach to its national expansion. Expect it to begin appearing on store shelves in other parts of the country throughout the end of the year. Its next stop is going to be another store chain on the East Coast later this month, the company said.
To celebrate the debut, Impossible Foods has tapped Chrissy Teigen’s grandmother for a VIP event on Thursday night and will be handing out samples at a Los Angeles-area Gelson’s on Friday.
“Our first step into retail is a watershed moment in Impossible Foods’ history,” said Impossible Foods’ Senior Vice President Nick Halla, who oversees the company’s retail expansion. “We’re thrilled and humbled that our launch partners for this limited release are homegrown, beloved grocery stores with cult followings in their regions.”
Gelson’s and Los Angeles are something of a natural first stop for the company, given LA’s place in the nation’s food, environmental and entertainment cultures.
Indeed, celebrities are some of the backers of Impossible Foods. In the company’s last, $300 million round, Jay-Z, Katy Perry, Serena Williams, Jaden Smith, Trevor Noah and Zedd all invested.
The Impossible Burger is made to have as much iron and protein as a traditional burger and contains 14 grams of total fat, 8 grams of saturated fat and comes in at 240 calories per 4-ounce servicing. It’s not better for a person than eating a traditional burger patty, but it is better for the environment. (The company says that a conventional 4-ounce patty has 80 milligrams of cholesterol, 23 grams of total fat, 9 grams of saturated fat and 290 calories.)
Founded in 2011 by chief executive officer and former Stanford biochemistry professor Pat Brown, Impossible Foods has raised nearly $700 million from investors, including Bill Gates, Khosla Ventures, the slew of celebrities, the Singaporean government’s investment fund and Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing (along with his venture capital fund).
The company has set itself the goal of eliminating the need for animals in the food chain by 2035.
The Impossible Burger is already selling in White Castle, Burger King and Qdoba, and is, according to a GrubHub survey, the most popular late-night delivery item in the U.S.