Grocery giant Kroger announced last week that it will be selling the Impossible Burger at 1,700 locations. The action comes as supply-chain issues are causing interruptions in delivery schedules, making meat scarce in some stores.
The Impossible Burger has been available at Burger King and more than 2,700 other grocery stores, but the deal with Kroger will lead to what the company called an “18-fold increase” in its retail space gains, according to USA Today.
“The launch of Impossible Burger at Kroger grocery stores nationwide signals our intention to make Impossible Burger available everywhere America shops – at brick-and-mortar retailers and their increasingly popular online ordering and delivery services,” Impossible Foods CEO Dennis Woodside said.
The brand does not have “a lot of the challenges that the meat industry does,” CFO David Lee argued, according to the U.K. Daily Mail.
“One thing that is similar is our set of customers,” Lee said, claiming that “95 percent of people who buy Impossible Burgers are meat-eaters.”
The Impossible Burger is not without its detractors.
Twitter has debated the burger.
Study out the “Impossible” Burger. You DON’T want to eat it. 😬 https://t.co/bSV1YQ4bZn
— 👑 Peggy Lee 👑 (@RoyalcoachPeg) May 7, 2020
The Impossible Burger is on track to become a mainstream American staple. pic.twitter.com/R8eEd2ENWl
— Inc. (@Inc) May 7, 2020
The impossible burger is sooo good. And now ❤️good❤️ too. https://t.co/Q6n8R36Auh
— Soledad O’Brien (@soledadobrien) May 9, 2020
Have you ever tried the Impossible Burger?👀 Now more than ever we need to find sustainable sources of protein that could easily replace meat and its negative connotations for the environment 🔥.#climatechange #environment #globalwarming #nature #savetheplanet pic.twitter.com/djjKphsQ6x
— Hult Prize (@hultprize) May 12, 2020
Sick is a better word. Do you know how many non plant chemicals you have to eat to make an Impossible Burger taste like meat?
I recall articles that said REGULAR MEAT was healthier for vegans than Impossible Burgers. It isn’t spices they’re putting in to make it taste like meat.
— Joseph Morelli (@MorellijdJoseph) May 12, 2020
Healthline explained that “[h]eme, or soy leghemoglobin, is the ingredient said to set the Impossible Burger apart from other plant-based burgers,” but it is also “perhaps the most controversial ingredient in the Impossible Burger.”
“Unlike the heme found in beef, the heme in the Impossible Burger is genetically engineered by adding soy protein to genetically engineered yeast.
“Though Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), some raise concern about its potential health effects,” an article on the website explained, adding that “its long-term safety is still unknown.”
“Current studies on soy leghemoglobin have only been conducted in animals and over short periods,” the article read.
Furthermore, although the studies showed no ill effects, “it’s currently unknown whether it’s safe for humans to eat this man-made compound over longer periods.”
Impossible Foods founder Patrick Brown has pushed back against the critics.
“The fact that heme is produced by genetic engineering is a complete non-issue from a consumer safety standpoint,” he said at a 2019 event, according to Inc.
“It’s a way safer way to produce it than isolating it from soybean roots, and a vastly safer way to produce it than covering the entire frigging planet with cows, which is the way we’re doing it now.”
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