Australia’s booming meat alternative market will have a new player from Thursday, as Impossible Foods launches its lauded animal product-free burger at Grill’d restaurants nationwide.
As of today, the American manufacturer will offer its eponymous Impossible Burgers across 150 Grill’d locations in Australia and New Zealand, and Sydney’s Butter sneaker store-slash-restaurant outlets.
Impossible Foods’ long-expected domestic launch is likely the highest profile entry to Australia’s meat-free market to date, given the company’s reputation in the growing sector.
Founded in 2011, the company claims to have created a product which looks, cooks, and tastes like real beef, without the use of animal products.
Instead, the burger mince uses soy and potato protein, plus ‘heme’, a plant-derived molecule Impossible Foods claims gives its products a “meaty” taste.
In its own review of the Impossible Burger, Business Insider found the “delicious” product is close enough to the real thing that “most people wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.”
The privately-held company has secured investment from figures like Bill Gates, Google Ventures, and Jay-Z. Impossible Foods has reportedly considered a public offering, aiming for a valuation of at least AU$13.4 billion.
Today’s launch marks the company’s third international expansion in the past 14 months, taking advantage of local diners’ increasing appetite for meat-free options.
“Impossible Beef is the natural next step for Grill’d in our mission to challenge the status quo with innovative, healthy and sustainable products,” Grill’d founder Simon Crowe said in a statement.
Grill’d is no new player in the scene, either, having partnered with Australian firm Fable on a suite of mushroom-based burgers earlier this year.
The chain’s focus on meat alternative products speaks to the growing number of Australian diners choosing meat-free or meat-reduced diets, due to dietary and sustainability concerns.
The burgeoning industry has concerned traditional livestock farmers to the point that a Senate committee is currently considering the impact of companies like Impossible Foods using terms like ‘beef’.
Critics claim such terms mislead consumers, and that the influx of meat alternatives is diluting the international ‘brand’ appeal of Australian farm-grown meat.
The committee is set to issue its final report before February 2022.