For decades, the Holy Grail of the foodservice industry has been producing an all-plant-based patty that tastes as good as real meat – or better yet – is indistinguishable from a delicious, juicy beef burger. That lofty goal may have been achieved by a Redwood City, California, company called Impossible Foods.
Yes, Impossible Foods appears to have achieved the impossible with its aptly named veggie burger, the Impossible Burger. It contains four key ingredients that give it the texture, taste and essential quality of real beef. The key ingredient is something called “heme.” This substance is present in real beef and gives it its fatty or “bloody” quality. But the heme in the Impossible Burger is sourced from soy root, or more specifically, a type of yeast cultured in a complex process.
The Impossible Burger has set the restaurant industry on fire. The veggie burger is now selling like hotcakes in more than 10,000 restaurants. But Impossible Foods has a significant problem. It is suffering from its own success. The company can’t keep up with production. But just as this innovative operation cracked the code for the perfect vegan faux-meat treat, it has found a solution to its production crunch.
Impossible Foods recently entered into an agreement with OSI Group, the giant food processing company best known as being the supplier of McDonalds. OSI Group is among the world’s largest food processors with a presence in 17 nations. If any company can ramp up production of the Impossible Burger, it is OSI Group.
OSI cranks out beef patties for McDonalds at a blazing pace. Consider the fact that McDonalds sells 75 burgers per second on any given day around the world. But while OSI is well known for its marvelous efficiency in manufacturing meat patties, it has long since become a highly diversified operation dealing in a broad range of processed food products, including a wide array of vegetable-based items.
Sheetal Shah is a senior vice president and production manager at Impossible Foods. He is thrilled to be working with what he called one of the best food processing companies in the world.