In 2011, Pat Brown, ex-professor of the Medical School of Stanford University launched a start-up “The Impossible Foods” in San Francisco with ambitious task to create a vegetarian burger with real meat taste. While burgers with black beans or mushrooms can hardly satisfy ardent meat lovers, this company has all chances to succeed. Their burgers sizzle and taste like real beef!
Philanthropic idea of the Impossible Food
At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Mr. Brown presented his idea and global vision on how to save our planet from starvation by abandoning livestock industry (that nowadays uses 30% of all land and ¼ of all spring water on Earth) in favor of plant industry stage-by-stage.
What is the heme?
The amazing cutlet consists of plant ingredients such as wheat, coconut oil and potatoes. But the main secret why it tastes so gloriously carneous is due to the iron-containing ingredient called heme. In nature, heme makes the blood red, and it gives traditional burger cutlets a slightly metallic taste and a delicious aroma.
At first, the company’s scientists paid attention to soybean roots as they contained lots of heme, but later they found they would need billions of plants to assemble enough heme in industrial-scale volumes. Therefore, heme was recreated in the lab.
The Impossible Food’s mission
In one of the recent interviews, Brown made this bold statement: “We want to occupy 100% of the market, to create our own market, and do not try to get into the market of products for people who avoid meat. We want people to fall in love with vegetarian burgers, and not try to do something that replicates any previous experience”.
According to the company’s vision, in the future, there will be no livestock industry and cattle will not be produced for food anymore. So, pastures will be no longer needed and wild animals will live there, a huge amount of energy will be saved and harm for the Earth will be significantly reduced. He says that with this development people will be healthier because there will be less problems with contaminated meat, poisoning and its consequences.
This start-up was financially supported by Bill Gates and Google Ventures. In 2015, Google tried to buy it, but Pat Brown rejected the offer.
Still nowadays, regardless how delicious a vegetarian burger can be, such food remains unique, not for everyday consumption. In addition, let’s look at the composition of such burger and its ‘artificial’ origin: it can hardly be considered natural, definitely not a type of food you would eat every day, just occasionally, and it is unlikely that such a diet will suit vegetarians who want to eat healthy.
Still, it will be very interesting to see how the Impossible Food will implement and develop their philanthropic and ambitious ideas!