- Impossible Burgers will hit grocery store shelves Friday starting with all 27 Gelson’s Markets locations in Southern California, including San Diego, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, the company announced in a press release.
- This is the first retail location for the Impossible Burger. The company said it will announce other retail partners on the East Coast later this month.
- Impossible Foods is accelerating its retail push as it scales production at its own plant in Oakland, California and with food manufacturer OSI Group. The Impossible Burger will continue to debut at new retailers through early 2020.
Impossible received FDA approval to sell its burgers in stores July 31. After facing high demand and subsequent shortages earlier this year, the company struggled to move the product through the production pipeline. Now, its improved supply chain and regulatory clearance has made it possible for shoppers to buy the burger for home cooking for the first time.
The company's retail launch is a major step toward staying competitive with rival Beyond Meat, which has rolled out in stores nationwide. Although reaching store shelves is a major accomplishment for Impossible, it's coming into a crowded market. Nestle's Sweet Earth plant-based burgers are also expected to reach grocery stores soon, and Tyson unveiled plant-based chicken products in retail locations earlier this summer.
Gelson's, a chain known for cutting-edge offerings and a vibrant store experience, is a fitting choice for Impossible's first grocery partner. The company has an upscale image, competitive pricing and unique features, such as a Sip 'N Shop personal shopping service. The banner also boasts loyal customer base and was recently rated one of the top grocery stores in the West in Consumer Reports' annual supermarket rankings.
While consumer demand for plant-based foods has soared in recent months, plant-based meat companies have been under scrutiny for the perceived highly processed nature of their products. A recent study from Whole Foods indicated that 63% of millennials want to add more plant-based and unprocessed foods into their diets. Their disdain for processed ingredients calls into question the ingredients list of both Impossible Foods' and Beyond Meat's offerings. The Beyond Burger has 18 ingredients while the Impossible Burger has 21.
Impossible Foods has expanded its Impossible Burger to over 10,000 restaurant locations nationwide including Burger King, which will soon sell the plant-based meat substitute at every location. The company's supply problem earlier this year that left many of its restaurant partners in the lurch, but that hasn't stopped the high-flying company from rebounding.