Despite a flashy debut at CES 2019 for version 2.0 of its Impossible Burger, Impossible Foods has only been able to sell its plant-based fake meat patties to restaurants and fast food joints. But the FDA has finally given its approval for a key blood-simulating ingredient that makes the Impossible Burger look, feel, and taste beef-like, and starting on September 4 the company can finally sell it directly to consumers.
Although one of the first plant-based burgers to make news for being nearly indistinguishable from a burger made from actual beef, consumers have only been able to find products from Impossible Foods’ competitors, such as the Beyond Burger, in grocery stores. Beyond Meat’s products are definitely a step up from the often disappointing veggie burgers of the past, but it’s the Impossible Burger that manages to nearly perfectly emulate cooked ground beef, both in flavor and with simulated blood made possible by an ingredient called soy leghemoglobin. And it’s that ingredient that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has finally approved as being safe for use in uncooked products that consumers can directly purchase, despite previous concerns over it being a potential allergen.
Last year the FDA tentatively approved soy leghemoglobin as a safe color additive, but limited its availability to the masses through restaurants. The Impossible Burger was available at fast food chains like Red Robin and White Castle, and by the end of 2019, it will also be sold at every single Burger King location across the country. But starting on September 4, Impossible Foods can finally compete with Beyond Meat’s products in grocery stores across the country, although the company doesn’t expect to have its Impossible Burgers on shelves until sometime in the fall as it works to ramp up production to meet the new demand.