Looking for the next Uber-like disruptor of a long-established industry?
It might just be Impossible Foods, based in Silicon Valley.
Impossible Foods is a new type of food provider. They are busy prototyping plant-based ingredients to create meat- and cheese-like fare.
The difference between Impossible Foods and many other food "substitutes" on the market is the company's focus on taste.
They don't shy away from the task at hand, and actually embrace it.
“We want the hard-core beef lovers, the guy who’s basically saying, ‘You know, I’m literally on the opposite pole from a vegetarian, in no conceivable universe would I accept any substitute for meat,’” company founder Dr. Patrick Brown of Stanford University told the Wall Street Journal.
According to the Impossible Foods website, the company was created because Brown "knew that people would never give up the foods they love until new choices were even more delicious and satisfying."
Brown feels like he and his scientists have identified a key ingredient called "heme" to help him in his quest. It's is a molecule similar to that found in blood - hemoglobin - and it's what makes a steak or hamburger taste the way it does.
Heme occurs naturally in the roots of certain vegetables.
With some processing, Impossible Foods actually makes a hamburger that has a pink center and bleeds (see the video).
Food replacement is an intriguing idea and similar attempts in tangential categories have proved successful. Consider the artificial sweetener industry, which has been replacing sugar for decades.
Venture capital companies have invested large sums in the idea.
Last October, Impossible Foods raised $75-million from investors and was reportedly offered between $200- and $300-million for the entire company by Google.
Not only is there a potential health benefit from eating plant-based foods, there's also the idea that the current food industry won't be able to keep up with the world's population growth.
“Livestock is an antiquated technology,” Brown told the Journal.
“The system that we use today to produce meat and cheese is completely unsustainable,” he said. “It has terribly destructive environmental consequences.”
Eating plants, while still achieving the taste of a real cheeseburger.
Impossible Foods may just be the next Uber by changing the way we think about its industry.