Impossible Foods lowers grocery store prices amid pandemic-fueled retail expansion

A customer picks up a package of Impossible Burger plant based meat during the Impossible Foods Inc. grocery store product launch at Gelson’s Markets in Los Angeles, California, U.S., on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019.
Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Impossible Foods is slashing the suggested prices for U.S. grocery stores by 20%, pushing it closer to achieving price parity with the meat it’s trying to replace.

The recommended retail prices for Impossible’s meat-free burgers is now $5.49 for patties and $6.99 for a 12-ounce package. The price cuts make the meat alternatives cheaper than ever, but consumers will still be paying more than double for the Impossible Burger, based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s national beef retail report for the week ending Feb. 4.

Outside of the United States, double-digit price cuts for Impossible products are also being rolled out in grocery stores.

This marks the first time that the privately held start-up has lowered its retail prices, but the third time in the last year that the company has permanently discounted products. Restaurant distributors received price cuts in 2020 and again in January.

In the last year, the number of supermarkets carrying Impossible Foods’ meat substitutes has increased by 113 times. It’s also in a 47-location test at Costco Wholesale, which could result in even more retail stores carrying its products.

The coronavirus pandemic fueled new interest in meat substitutes, as more consumers turned to grocery stores for their food supply and Covid-19 outbreaks in meatpacking plants resulted in some stockouts of meat products.

“Our plan was not to move this fast in retail last year until Covid hit,” President Dennis Woodside said in an interview.

Impossible’s production capabilities have increased by sixfold since 2019, helping it meet all of that new demand. Woodside said that the company’s manufacturing has become more efficient as it runs its production lines more frequently and adds more shifts to its schedule. He also said that as Impossible Foods grows, so do its suppliers.

“They are able to pass along savings to us,” he said.

Rival Beyond Meat has also been working toward cutting its prices as more competition enters the market. Last summer, it sold frozen value packs of its meatless burger patties. Shares of Beyond have risen 61% in the last year, giving the company a market value of $11.1 billion.

In addition to facing competition from other companies selling realistic meat alternatives, Impossible and Beyond could soon face price pressure from the makers of cell-based meat. Future Meat Technologies, an Israeli-based company, said Monday that it’s lowered the production cost of a cultured chicken breast to $7.50. Singapore is so far the only country to approve the sale of lab-grown meat after granting permission to Eat Just in December.

“Ultimately, what we’re all competing against is the 1-trillion pound industry, which is the current animal-based protein industry,” Woodside said.

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