How Impossible Foods is shaping the evolution of plant-based offerings. 

Sponsored by Impossible Foods

As the culinary industry evolves and consumer preferences shift towards more sustainable and health-conscious options, the integration of plant-based products into restaurant menus has become not just a trend, but a necessity. Incorporating plant-based products into existing menus can be challenging for restaurant operators, but Impossible Foods, a leader in the meat-from-plants industry, offers a range of innovative products that cater to this demand – from breakfast sausage patties to burgers and hot dogs. 

“Taste is our number one priority,” says J Michael Melton, head of culinary at Impossible Foods. “Impossible Foods is very deliberate in designing products that work in a lot of different cooking experiences and formats. It’s something that we focus on to make it easy for operators to integrate.”

Introducing plant-based options to a restaurant’s menu is a great way to attract new customers and re-engage current fans. In 2021, an IFIC Survey in the U.S. found that 65 percent of respondents consumed plant-based alternatives, 20 percent consumed them at least weekly and 22 percent daily.

“We offer a plant-based pork and sausage that’s pre-seasoned and pre-cooked,” Melton says. “This makes it adaptable for various dishes like breakfast sausage gravy, hash, or omelets. It also works great on english muffins and other buns. We aim to provide something that meets different needs and allows for further innovation. It’s precooked for establishments requiring that, yet its versatility allows for use in diverse dishes. It seamlessly integrates into how you want it to appear on your menu.”

Impossible Sausage is especially versatile and easy to include in any breakfast or brunch dish. Coming in a variety of flavors, they all work great in a breakfast sandwich, biscuits and gravy, a breakfast scramble, or as a side with french toast.

“Choosing a restaurant can be tough when someone in a customer’s group has dietary restrictions or preferences,” Melton says. “Looking at our successful partners who have leaned into it, each understands that making sure restaurants offer something for everyone matters.” 

Understanding one customer’s ‘veto vote’ on choosing an establishment to dine at is crucial. It’s vital to make sure operators avoid this and appeal to current customers and potential future customers. Impossible Foods offers a solution to eliminate this and increase customer traffic by having an option for everyone. 

If restaurants aren’t including meat from plants on a menu, operators are overlooking a significant market segment driven by Gen Z’s ethical, environmental, and health priorities. This oversight sidelines a substantial revenue opportunity, positioning a brand to be out of touch with the values of a socially conscious and health-aware generation that restaurants should be targeting.

By embracing plant-based dining options, restaurants can redefine the dining experience and stay ahead of evolving consumer trends. From classic burgers and hot dogs to innovative breakfast options, the possibilities are endless with Impossible meat from plants. Restaurants can leverage these products to create unique dishes and flex creative strategies to appeal to a wide range of customers, from traditional meat lovers to health-conscious individuals seeking alternatives that are better for the planet.

Incorporating Impossible Foods’ products into a menu allows for menu innovation and creativity. “Our products are intentionally designed to be as flexible as possible,” Melton says. “For instance, take our ground beef – you can use it in any way you would use traditional ground beef. Whether it’s on a flat top, open flame grill, in soups, sauces, meatballs, or even as fillings for dishes like ravioli. Essentially, it’s a single ingredient that can be utilized across your menu in different applications. Plus, it takes on seasonings and aromatics beautifully, making it a joy to work with. It’s like having a new, versatile tool in your culinary toolbox.” 

Johnny Rockets’ integration of Impossible Burgers into its menu was a game changer for reaching new customers. “Adding the Impossible Burger allowed us to draw in consumers with all types of meat preferences,” says Taylor Fischer, vice president of marketing for the fast-casual division at Fat Brands. 

Noticing a growing interest among younger consumers in these kinds of options, Johnny Rockets, often seen as a legacy brand, introduced meat from plants as an effective way to connect with and appeal to a younger demographic. 

“We initially introduced it as an LTO to gauge consumer interest and brand reception,” Fischer says. “It proved to be incredibly popular, so much so that we’ve permanently added it to our menu, and has been a staple for almost three years now.”

Not only can operators appeal to a young consumer base, but another key advantage of Impossible Foods’ products is its lower environmental impact. Impossible Foods conducts life cycle analysis to measure the environmental impact of its products, promoting a commitment to sustainability.

“We’ve engaged third-party experts to conduct life cycle analyses on our products, comparing our product to its animal-based counterpart, focusing on areas like land usage, greenhouse gas emissions, and water consumption,” Melton says. “Specifically, Impossible Sausage generates 71 percent less greenhouse gasses, 41 percent less land area, and 79 percent less water compared to traditional pork sausage.” 

These products offer a better-for-the-planet alternative for eco-conscious consumers. According to McKinsey research, Gen Z and millennials are particularly interested in vegetarian, vegan, and conscious eating options, with 73 percent of Gen Z participants expressing concern about the environmental impact of food choices in a 2022 survey. Incorporating these plant-based options into menus allows restaurants to align with consumer values and promote a more sustainable food system.

Datassential predicts that plant-based items will be found on over 40 percent of restaurant menus by 2025. As consumer preferences continue to evolve, the demand for plant-based dining options will only continue to grow. Restaurants that embrace this shift and incorporate innovative meat from plants into their menus will not only attract new customers but also contribute to a more sustainable future. 

To learn more about Impossible Foods, visit their website at www.impossiblefoods.com 

By Drew Filipski 

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