Impossible? A plant-based burger just won $75m

Impossible Foods recently reached milestones on food safety and intellectual property

Start-up Impossible Foods has secured a “significant” $75m cash injection from investors, including Bill Gates and a Facebook founder, who now back a revolutionary plant-based burger that bleeds.

Flagship product the Impossible Burger uses a key protein called soy leghaemoglobin, which recently passed several food safety tests with flying colours and won the company a patent to use the ingredient in plant-based meats.
 
This sparked a flurry of investment activity, with Singapore-based wealth fund Temasek leading the charge. Bill Gates, Khosla Ventures, Horizon Ventures and Open Philanthropy Project – whose main funder is Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and his wife Cari Tuna – have also invested.

Making meat from plants - the Impossible Foods mission

More investment in the business will help to accelerate its expansion plans, with Impossible Foods working on a new factory in Oakland, California, that can produce 12 million pounds of meat-alternative burgers per year.

Patrick Brown founded Impossible Foods in 2011

Founded in 2011 by ex-Stanford University biochemistry professor Patrick Brown, the business has been exploring how to meet growing meat demand in a way that does not speed up the impact of climate change.

The business has found a way to make the chemical compound heme – something that is abundant in animal muscle and helps give meat that unique flavour – without slaughtering livestock.

By genetically modifying yeast and using fermentation, the business has unlocked a way to produce a heme protein that is naturally found in plants: soy leghaemoglobin.

The compound is resource-efficient too, as it uses 75% less water, generates 87% fewer greenhouse gases and requires 95% less land than beef cattle, according to Impossible Foods. The burger is also produced without growth-enhancers, antibiotics or artificial flavours.

Our scientists spent so much time and effort studying a single molecule – heme – because heme is what makes meat taste like meat,” explained Impossible Foods CEO and founder Brown.

It turns out that finding a sustainable way to make massive amounts of heme from plants is a critical step in solving the world’s greatest environmental threat.

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Comments (3)

lj - 17 Aug 2017 | 02:10

Fantastic News

It's encouraging to see the meat industry is finally discussing a modern product that is less harmful to the environment and does not require the exploitation of animals.

17-Aug-2017 at 02:10 GMT

DM - 11 Aug 2017 | 06:13

Soy - Genetically Modified. BAD for all

So G.M. crops are now masquerading as healthy food. Tell that to the bees, insects and all animal kind that requires a healthy crop. Just how much water, herbicides and pesticides will also be used for this crop. Where can it grow? Who owns the patent? Cows will still hopefully have a calf each year and milk, without milk humans will be malnourished. Sounds like another .com business killing off everyone and everything other than itself. A tragedy.

11-Aug-2017 at 18:13 GMT
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