Getting Impossible Foods’ plant-based burger alternative from the lab and onto consumers’ grills has been a long, drawn out process. But the company has announced that starting tomorrow, the new Impossible Burger will finally be available to purchase in grocery stores—assuming you live in California.
Earlier this year, at CES 2019 in Las Vegas, Impossible Foods debuted version 2.0 of its Impossible Burger which we found to be almost indistinguishable from burgers made from actual beef thanks to an ingredient called soy leghemoglobin that simulates how ground beef looks, cooks, and tastes. Impossible Foods has created an impressive product that promises to help reduce the world’s demand for beef, but to date it has only been available to consumers through restaurants and fast food joints because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was slow to fully approve soy leghemoglobin as a safe color additive.
Concerned that the additive could be a potential allergen, last July the FDA limited its availability to consumers as a cooked product only. As a result, it’s only been available to the masses through restaurants like Red Robin, Momofuku Nishi, White Castle, and by the end of 2019, every single Burger King franchise in the country. In early August of this year, however, the FDA finally approved soy leghemoglobin as a safe ingredient for uncooked products, opening the door to Impossible Foods being able to sell the meat alternative to home chefs everywhere.
The rollout officially starts tomorrow, but the ‘everywhere’ part isn’t quite everywhere just yet. If you live in Southern California (from San Diego to Los Angeles) you’ll be able to find the Impossible Burger (the version 2.0 that was introduced earlier this year) in coolers at all 27 Gelson’s gourmet grocery store locations. Everyone else will have to wait until later this month for announcements about additional retailers, including what stores will carry the beef alternative on the east coast as Impossible Foods ramps up production to meet what will undoubtedly be a heavy demand for the product.