Even before this pandemic plant based meats, were making all kinds of inroads impossible foods, a good example.
And then COVID comes along and a lot of people manage to get thier mind available to doing new things together with their pre existing curiosity about new things.
But at exactly the same time, shopping got kind of complicated.
Some folks aren’t sure where they must be buying things.
They very nearly fear the grocery stores, sometimes But now they’re also wide open to new innovations.
It’s a fascinating mix.
Pat Brown is here.
He’s CEO and founder of impossible foods.
And Pat reveal last time you and I talked it was pre COVID Tell me what you’ve learned at impossible during COVID.
A lot of people arrive at this show and they say we’ve learned interesting little things about ourselves.
One of the hardest impacted organizations is restaurants.
More than 95% of our business was in restaurants in March.
And so we accelerated the master plan that we already had, that has been to roll out in grocery stores.
And now we’re in significantly more than 10,000 grocery stores around the world in every state.
So that that was maybe not caused by but catalyzed by the COVID outbreak.
Changed how we interact with a number of our restaurant customers and we’ve helped them make an effort to get through the, the epidemic by enabling them to saw our product, frozen directly and consumers etc.
We’ve upped our what we call our social good efforts.
Donating product to food banks and organizations which are trying to get out.
People that are struggling and we also learned that lots of aspects of our business can function remotely which I was very debateable that we could kind of Keep our Mojo and support the company together if we weren’t all in one big room, that has been.
Yeah, I was interested in learning that because whenever I visited you guys, I’ve been in a big r&d facility where there are numerous people focusing on things, practical.
You’re a practical business.
You don’t make bits and digits.
You make food.
or the safety of our employees.
And exactly the same was true for our production workers where it is practical can not can’t just get it done.
By zoom, we power down the physical operation for a period for near to a month for our production facilities and for our r&d was more than a month.
And we make use of the time to create a much safer working environment, put a large amount of procedures and protective measures in position.
We’ve resumed production
Maybe 80% resumed our full R&D operations and productivity.
We’ve kicked all of the non R&D people out of the facility.
So that provides us a lot more space for social distancing.
And Fingers crossed to date we’ve had, you know, zero cases of transmission.
Most of the brands that we’ve talked to with this show, the steam keeps coming up throughout the COVID era, they’ve learned to get better at it.
Accessibility is frequently the word that comes up.
That’s often since they have a digital product.
Maybe the synonym for you personally is availability.
And in reality you’ve made and therefore are making some announcements around that.
Just in the past month or so we launched in Trader Joe’s and Walmart.
Earlier we launched in Safeway Albertsons, Kroger AGV.
[LAUGH] Now we’re launching in Target stores nationwide within the next week roughly.
And greater news perhaps is we’re expanding in to our undoubtedly largest international market, We just had,
Let me ask you about the Canadian launch.
To those people who are not in the meals business, we’ll take a look and say, Okay, that seems like a, like a quantitative launch.
It’s just more of a similar thing from one big industrial market expanding up into yet another adjacent one, but will there be also some qualitative differences in the method that you Present your self in that market versus here or could it be literally just a quantitative expansion?
I might say it’s somewhere it’s somewhere among.
From a logistical standpoint, a lot of the supply chain Canada is equivalent to in the US.
So there is that From a cultural standpoint, there’s a large amount of similarities between Canada and the US.
Canada has been by far we’ve had literally thousands of inbound requests originating from Canada to launch there and restaurants and, and grocery stores etc.
It’s, it’s by far the largest source of inbound conquest.
There’s that, you will find parts of Canada that are French speaking.
So we’ve, you realize, we have to clearly have all our information in French as well as English and you will find different regulatory requirements etc with respect to labeling, etc but it’s minor stuff It’s it, I might say was relatively there’s nothing easy.
But I might say it had been relatively easy among all the international markets.
It was a relatively easy one for us.
Unfold a package of the product out of my freezer and I’m considering over here as it drips and thaws which will have it ready for weekend use.
I do not see the V words on here anywhere.
No vegan, no vegetarian.
Still maybe not part of the message.
Why is that?
You know, we now have nothing against vegans and vegetarians plus they are certainly permitted to buy our product.
But the only consumer that we worry about from a mission point of view is a person who would otherwise be buying meat from an animal that is 100% The consumer we’re contemplating when we’re creating our products.
Our mission is always to completely replace animals as a food technology globally by 2035.
We’re serious, we’re on trajectory to accomplish this.
The era of history only goes one way here.
But we do that by making services and products.
That meat loving consumers voluntarily choose in place of the pet products.
That’s why we invested so much in R&D to create a product that isn’t just a decent plant based burger but something which a very significant fraction of meat lovers Substantially prefer to the conventional calibers and we’ve been very successful actually in targeting meat lovers.
You know the the restaurants which have launched our product.
And this is true in Canada.
The restaurants we’re launching in Canada just has happened in america and Hong Kong and Singapore.
These are restaurants run by, I might say globally renowned chefs that are famous primarily for their meat dishes, ok?
as opposed to vegan cafes and such.
And and, and that’s maybe not by accident and there’s two to two messages from that.
Number one These are those who make their living in a reputation by delivering pleasure to meat loving consumers, okay.
It’s a big deal to choose to place something on the menu and possesses to be not just good but it needs to be good meat.
It also has I believe the value of Sending a message to people that this fear that you have that a plant based product can never deliver what you value for me, is misplace.If these chefs whose reputation is on the web Considered to be delicious, neat.
You can you know lower your barrier to trying something new.
Let me ask you about about branding in the food business.
Chicken and poultry bird meats in many cases are branded Foster Farms produce something similar to that however when you go directly to the grocery store Cow, and pig and fish meats often aren’t.
They’re just this kind of generic thing that is served by your grocery butcher or fish counter.
And yet here’s a strongly branded beef.
What’s the strategy there as opposed to sometime ago, you could have decided, hey, we’re gonna get this to a supermarket.
Representation, exactly like beef to be more like beef, rather than saying no, we’re gonna take this into its brand cuz that’s a that’s a key decision.
It’s essential for us because what we’ve done is we’ve created an entirely new category of food, okay?
It’s not a veggie burger.
And it is not meat from animals, it’s plant based meat.
There’s never been such a thing before.
And meaning meaning a product made from plants that delivers what hardcore meat lovers want from me.
This is an entirely new thing.
So we need to distinguish ourselves.
Obviously from the animal based product, as well as from all plant based products, all previous as well as current plant based services and products.
Because that is plant based meat, it is not fake meat.
First of, we only want meat loving.
Well, we’ll just take vegans, but our target consumer is someone who loves meat.
And those consumers, by and large are expectant of the plant based product to be terrible, ok?
And when they tried most plant based products, I believe they will regard as a completely inadequate replacement for meat, but not our product.
And so it’s crucial for us to tell apart them from the other stuff 2035 let us go back to that in the casual interactions I’ve with big food businesses out there that produce all kinds of foods and many of these have now began to make some type of a plant based meat or so they do say They will most likely infer that Yeah, you guys have this commanding power in plant based meat.
They’ll concede that at this point, nevertheless they also at exactly the same time will give me the impression that Meat itself from animals isn’t under threat.
They’ve got kind of a dichotomous thing there.
And at the same time, they’ll also admit that a lot of their market is in so called flexitarians, which are meat eaters, and that they’re already having some erosion inside their core meat eater.
So there’s a lot of interesting sort of Almost conflicting awarenesses there.
What do you know which they don’t about 2035.
we’re growing exponentially and our growth is coming at the cost overwhelmingly at the expense of the incumbent industry.
We had data from consumer interviews about When they decide to buy our product, what’s a displace in their diet.
Now we now have actual data from food markets that track individual consumers through their loyalty cards and so forth.
And and it supports what we’d had.
Gleaned from the interviews, which can be the large majority of the purchase of our product come at the expense of the animal based product.
These are people that historically have purchased ground beef from cows.
And in the event that you look in their receipts, what our product is displacing, More than 70% of what’s being displayed is ground beef from cows.
ok, so that’s interesting that’s what they are doing maybe not what they are saying which can be always the more interesting insight.>> Yes, yes exactly and, and and that’s just what we want.
Okay for us a sale only really Counts in terms of our mission if it erodes the sales of the incumbent industry.
And it’s working.
And I’m sure they are looking at exactly the same data and seeing a similar thing.
And again, this only goes one of the ways.
Not only are we growing production and distribution and so forth and awareness.
Our products are receiving better.
They’re going to be getting more and much more diverse.
The incumbent industry is stuck with a prehistoric technology.
It’s ridiculously inefficient, not only from an environmental resource viewpoint, but economically that’s why asymptotically we’re going to have the ability to compete Successfully on price with this option, and they can not make their product any benefit.
It’s just this.
They’re stuck with this prehistoric technology that’s fundamentally unimprovable.
And they will have done a lot of things with the supply chain to make it more efficient.
They’ve turned slaughterhouses into gruesome Assembly lines, but that’s about so far as it can take them.
We have all kinds of methods we can improve our supply chain, our production efficiency, the quality of our products, both deliciousness, vitamins and minerals, affordability, and all of this.
This only goes one way, the demise of that industry is inevitable.
They’re fighting a weird rearguard action today.
And I believe that huge difference you explain in the difference in the amount of innovation headroom involving the two is fairly stark.
We’ve been speaking with Pat Brown, CEO and founder of Impossible Foods.
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