- Impossible Foods is launching a leaner version of its signature plant-based beef. Impossible Beef Lite has less fat (75% less saturated fat and 45% less total fat than 90/10 lean beef), plus 21 grams of protein and 33% less sodium than the beef product. the competition.
- The company says the new product is not a reformulation. It was specifically designed as its own product, using many of the same ingredients and processes as Impossible Beef’s main product, but in a lighter form. It is currently available in the fresh meat aisle of some retailers and will be sold nationwide in the coming weeks.
- This is the latest product offering from Impossible Foods, which has worked to make its products at least as healthy as the meat it is intended to replace. The last major reformulation, which made its plant-based ground beef closer to or better in nutritional value than 80/20 animal-based beef, came last August.
Plant-based meat has a glowing halo of health. In a 2021 study from the International Food Information Council, 39% of consumers said wholesomeness was the top reason for wanting to eat plant-based products. And while a recent research review found that plant-based products are actually healthier for consumers, it’s still a pretty challenging combination when faced with options. Plant-based meat can still be high in fat and sodium, which health-conscious consumers may be trying to avoid.
Impossible’s new product tries to eliminate the confusion by presenting an option that clearly has fewer unfavorable nutrients. Compared to their main beef version, Impossible Beef Lite has fewer calories, less fat and sodium, and more protein. A four-ounce serving of Impossible Beef Lite has 180 calories, six grams of total fat, and 21 grams of protein. The same serving of 90/10 ground beef has 199 calories, 11 grams of total fat, and 23 grams of protein. Impossible still has more sodium (260 milligrams vs. 75 milligrams in beef), but it’s still less than the 370 milligrams of sodium in the main version of Impossible Beef.
Just as lean ground beef is more expensive, Impossible Beef Lite will cost more than its main version. The recommended price for a 12-ounce package of Impossible’s new product is $8.99, the company said.
While the new product represents a significant nutritional improvement, an Impossible Foods spokesperson said it was designed to complement the company’s product line. Just as ground beef with different fat contents is available to consumers looking for different nutritional and functional aspects, Impossible is doing the same with its plant-based meat.
The company says Impossible Beef Lite still looks, cooks and tastes like its core products, but it’s unknown if consumers will agree. The dry texture of some plant-based meats has been a hurdle for consumers, and it will be interesting to see if Impossible Foods has been able to cut back on its fat while keeping its product juicy. Some ingredients in plant-based meats also have a strong flavor of their own, which is why many products are higher in sodium. Consumers may not react well if less sodium means more protein-tinged or bitter taste in Impossible Beef Lite.
The new launch is a major step forward for Impossible Foods, and could be very welcome as sales of plant-based meat generally stagnate. Rival Beyond Meat is also working to position itself as a healthier alternative to boost sales. Impossible Foods doesn’t have to report sales numbers as a private company, but the company says it had retail dollar sales growth of more than 50% last year. Still, products that have the halo of plant-based meat and the nutrition facts panels to back it up can lead to more growth.