America’s two most popular plant-based meat companies are about to face off for the first time in US grocery stores.
For several years, Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods have made headlines with their high-tech meat alternatives, first wooing eaters on the coasts in restaurants and retail and then moving into the rest of the country. And, until now, they’ve mostly stayed in separate lanes. Impossible Foods dominated the restaurant market and Beyond Meat focused on getting into grocery stores.
Both Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods sell their ground burger alternatives in similar packaging. They look about like ground meat and both reportedly char—like the real thing—when cooked in a skillet. But just how they will stack up against each other in the hands of home cooks remains to be seen.
This week that equilibrium was disrupted. Impossible Foods today announced it was moving its product into grocery stores. It will roll out first into 27 Gelson’s grocery stores in California, and has promised news of more expansion in the coming months. A 12-ounce package of Impossible’s plant-based meat goes for about $9 a pop.
The company said in a statement that the event marks “the first time that the general public can experience the Impossible Burger in their own kitchens.”
The news is significant because it signals there’s enough consumer interest in plant-based meats for grocery stores to stock another brand—and for Impossible to expand its footprint beyond the kitchens of professional chefs.
According to SPINS data commissioned by the non-profit Good Food Institute, which supports and lobbies on behalf of meat alternative companies, the plant-based meat market brings in about $801 million a year. That’s up 37% since 2017, when sales clocked in around $584 million. With that kind of growth, retailers are eager to get more product in front of consumers.