Rahul Sachitanand
Sep 10, 2020

Impossible Foods to push pork substitute in Asia expansion

Retail availability of pork products in Hong Kong is slated for Q4. But the company still awaits a regulatory nod from China.

Impossible Foods' new sausage
Impossible Foods' new sausage

Fresh off a $200 million round of financing, plant-based meat brand Impossible Foods is planning an ambitious expansion in Asia, a region that accounts for 28% of traditional worldwide meat consumption.

While the brand has announced the availability of its Impossible Sausage across 185 Starbucks outlets in Hong Kong, it also plans to make its products available in more coffee shops and in general retail stores by the end of 2020. 

While Impossible's beefless burger has made inroads, its latest launch is aimed at hardcore consumers of pork. In six months, the firm has made this product available in 22,000 stores across the US and believes it can translate this success into Asia too. In the US alone, the brand's availability in retail shops has gone from barely 100 to 10,000 stores rapidly.

"Today our products are available across 700 places in Hong Kong and 500 in Singapore ... we have seen a 150% increase in this figure," Patrick O. Brown, founder and CEO of Impossible Foods, told attendees at a virtual media briefing this morning. 

While the company is bullish on its prospects in Asia, its push to expand into China, a market that accounts for 28% of the world's meat consumption, has been slowed by regulatory headwinds. While Brown remains optimistic about launching in the market (and setting up local manufacturing and supply chain facilities there), he isn't comitting to any deadlines. "We want to launch in China as soon as we possibly can ... it is the biggest meat consumer globally and fastest growing consumer for meat of all kinds," he adds. 

Like other plant-based meat brands, Impossible Foods has raced to expand its business outside of the United States, especially in Asia, It moved its first employee, Nick Halla, to Asia in March to drive these plans. "We're seeing fast growth here in Asia and learnt a lot about how our products is cooked ... it is much more diverse in Hong Kong, Macau and Singapore," says the company's senior vice president. "We had to build a much more robust and versatile product." 

Impossible Sausage is the company’s first new product since the 2016 debut of Impossible Burger. Impossible Foods launched Impossible Sausage at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.

Hong Kongers can now buy Starbucks’ Maize Impossible Sandwich, with fillings including egg, cheese, onions, roasted pumpkin and salad vegetables, at any Starbucks store across the city. Impossible Sausage will also debut later this month at additional restaurants, including Fini's, Franks Italian American, Triple O’s and Urban.

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