The burgers will initially be available in 100 Wegmans grocery stores across seven states, as well as in two Fairway stores in Manhattan on 74th street and 86th street. The vegetarian burger outsold traditional ground-beef burgers in its first full weekend in Gelson’s supermarkets in California. Now Impossible Foods, producers of the Impossible Burger, will be hoping their soy-based meat alternative can make a similar impact on the East Coast.
The impossible burger had been in development since 2011 and debuted five years later in New York at David Chang’s restaurant, Momofuku Nishi. With more consumers considering the health and environmental impacts of their food choices, the introduction of the Impossible Burger in to grocery stores will give them the opportunity to try them in the comfort of their own homes. The burger is already available in 17,000 restaurants, including Burger King which recently offered a limited time Impossible Whopper to their customers. Even with the new store launches on the East Coast, the Impossible Burger will be stocked in 129 grocery stores by comparison.
With a recent report suggesting that 60% of meat options may be produced in a lab or be plant-based by 2040, there is growing interest in the meat-free market. One of Impossible Foods main competitors is Beyond Meat, whose products are also in a number of grocery stores and who saw their shares rise 700% after the initial offering. Other major players in the food producing industry, including Nestle and Kellogg, are working on bringing their own meat-free range to market. Nestle have showed their commitment to this developing market by investing over $5 million in renovating facilities so they can concentrate on such items.
Gelson’s CEO, Rob McDougall, commented that "The Impossible Burger generated more excitement than any other single product we've seen in more than a half-century of operations”. Consumer concerns for the welfare of the environment and the impact their choices have on it are growing and meat-free substitutes address such worries. Now, with The Impossible Burger, consumers have a product with the taste and texture of a traditional beef burger, something meat-free products have previously struggled to replicate. The East Coast is the next testing ground on their acceptance in to the mass market.
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