Rahul Sachitanand
Oct 20, 2020

Pandemic compels Impossible Foods to accelerate retail push

Plant-based meat brand hits supermarkets in Hong Kong and Singapore this week.

Pandemic compels Impossible Foods to accelerate retail push

Impossible Foods is making its plant-based meat available in nearly 200 grocery stores in Hong Kong and Singapore—the first time Impossible Beef Made From Plants has been available for home chefs outside of the United States.

Covid-19 has dramatically altered the shopping and cooking habits of consumers worldwide, with more residents dining at home. The pandemic has also accelerated Impossible Foods' timeline for introducing its product in grocery stores by several months if not more, CEO and founder Patrick O. Brown said on a virtual press conference this morning.

Nick Halla, the companies SVP for international, who is based in Hong Kong, says a retail presence is a key requirement to target a region that accounts for 44% of global meat consumption and push some of these meat consumers towards plant-based alternatives. "Given the meat consumption here and environmental impact, we expect Asia to be our biggest markets in the coming years," he said. 

Brands such as Impossible are keen to tap the opportunity in Asia, but face a growing list of western and homegrown rivals in the region, as they seek to convince consumers to try these lab-devised alternatives.  

Last month, Impossible launched its Impossible Sausages across Starbucks outlets as it planned this retail expansion in Asia. "We are looking broadly through Asia and want to be everywhere that meat and fish is sold," Halla said. Brown, meanwhile, said the firm is working with regulators in China to launch in that market and also wants to build a supply chain for its products locally too. 

Starting this week, Impossible Beef (HK$89.90 for a 340g retail pack) will roll out at nearly 100 ParknShop stores across Hong Kong, including its Fusion, Taste, Food le Parc and Great Food Hall outlets. The product will also be available for delivery through parknshop.com.

In Singapore, Impossible Beef priced at SG$16.90 will be available this week at nearly 100 NTUC FairPrice stores, including FairPrice supermarkets, FairPrice Finest and FairPrice Xtra hypermarkets. In addition, Singapore’s biggest online grocer, RedMart, is selling Impossible Beef for home delivery.

Impossible Beef debuted in Asia’s restaurants two years ago and is now served in the restaurants of chefs such as May Chow, Uwe Opencensky, Gordon Ramsay, Ricky Leung, Adam Penney and Andrei Soen. It's now available in about 700 restaurants in Hong Kong and Macau (up 150% since January), and in 550 restaurants in Singapore (up 120%. The company said sales of Impossible Beef increased more than sixfold in Asia last year. 

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