There’s a myriad of reasons to replace cow’s milk with alternatives like nut milks, oat milk, or soy milk, but for those who enjoy the experience of consuming animal-sourced dairy products, the alternatives just aren’t the same. So Impossible Foods, makers of the Impossible Burger and other plant-based meat alternatives, are working on another food replacement that looks, tastes, and behaves like cow’s milk.
During a virtual press conference this morning where Impossible Foods revealed it was doubling the size of its Silicon Valley-based research and development team over the next year while also launching what it calls the “Impossible Investigator project” to entice leading scientists to contribute to its cause, the company also gave the world its first look at its new plant-based cow’s milk alternative that hasn’t yet been dubbed with a catchy marketing name. (Although you can probably safely assume that Impossible Milk is an option being considered.)
Like the company’s flagship Impossible Burgers, Impossible Foods’ new milk alternative is made with stable proteins sourced from plants. The idea is that it not only properly mixes with other liquids (like hot coffee) without forming precipitates that can alter the texture and drinking experience, but that it can also be whipped into a foam and used as an ingredient in other food products without having to modify a recipe as is often required with other substitutes.
As with Impossible Foods’ meat products, the goal of the milk alternative is to preserve the experience of consuming dairy products, including the texture, mouth feel, and flavor, while reducing the demand for raising animals like cattle. In other words, Impossible Milk, or whatever the company ends up calling it when it’s ready to officially make it available to the public, won’t necessarily be a replacement for soy milk or nut milks. There are lots of consumers who prefer those alternatives over cow’s milk. Impossible Foods’ goal is to create an alternative for those who want to leave cow milk behind, but not the experience of consuming it.
The company hasn’t given a timeline on when its milk substitute will be ready to leave its R&D labs, but it helps demonstrate that Impossible Foods has managed to successfully parlay its research into more than just replacements for ground meats. More importantly, it will allow the company to finally give the world a complete plant-based cheeseburger.