Ahead of his speaking role at the summit we spoke to David Lee, CFO at Impossible Foods to find out why there is such a buzz around plant-based proteins, how we can successfully scale these products and the collaborations he would like to see to accelerate the success of plant-based proteins.
Why are plant-based proteins such an important topic right now?
One of the world’s largest environmental problems is the use of animal farming. More than half of the ice free land on Earth and more than one-quarter of Earth’s freshwater is used to raise livestock and their food, making animal farming a leading cause of species extinction and global warming. Reducing the use of animals for food, and instead utilizing plant-based proteins, will liberate land and water, mitigate climate change and make people healthier.
How can we successfully source and scale the next generation of plant-based proteins?
Impossible Foods’ activities and strategy are scalable by design. We have developed foundational technology that will enable replication of plant-based meat manufacturing just about anywhere there is supply chain infrastructure, a source of clean water, and a labor force. Production is similar to traditional meat processing, albeit with new engineering configurations and ingredients — including our key ingredient, heme. The product pipeline is not limited to ground beef – the technology platform and our key ingredient heme allow us to create prototypes from milk to tuna fish, just to name a few. Heme production is necessary for the development of true plant-based meat alternatives. This foundational technology is replicable across scales and geographies and could be licensed to make rapid progress against livestock product across the whole plant-based food sector.
What collaborations and innovations would you like to see in the next 3-5 years to accelerate plant-based protein products and ingredients?
Our current focus right now is on our ground beef product, the Impossible Burger, but we do hope to have a full portfolio of products in the future (including steak). Impossible Foods was founded to replace animals as food production technology, and our platform will enable us to understand and recreate all animal products – meat, dairy, and fish – using plants. The goal is to produce a full range of meats and dairy products, which are not only good for people but also for the planet, and to replace animals as a food production technology by the year 2035.
At Future Food-Tech New York, David will join a fireside chat on Insights from Impossible Foods on Scaling Successfully with Louisa Burwood-Taylor, Head of Media & Research at AgFunder on June 18 at 12:45.
David will also speak on the panel Developing and Scaling the Next Generation of Plant-Based Protein Products on June 19 at 9:00 am, alongside:
Session Chair: Andrew Ive, Founder & Managing Director, BIG IDEA VENTURES
Jonathan Gray, Sr. Director, Research & Innovation, Plant-based Food & Beverages, DANONE NORTH AMERICA
Jitendra Sagili, VP, Research, Development & Food Technology, MAPLE LEAF FOODS
Fayaz Khazi, CEO, ELO LIFE SYSTEMS
Gregory Paul, Global Marketing Director, Consumer Segments, DUPONT NUTRITION & HEALTH