Post 52: Pork without pig? Impossible! - Heptagon Capital – Production

The craze for meat alternatives knows no bounds. Visit any burger bar in a big western city and you will find the likes of Beyond…

Post 52: Pork without pig? Impossible!

The craze for meat alternatives knows no bounds. Visit any burger bar in a big western city and you will find the likes of Beyond, Impossible and Incredible burgers competing for your attention, made from anything other than meat. The likes of soy, lentils, peas and mushroom have become worthy substitutes, with clever food engineering making the product ‘look’ and ‘taste’ like meat.

Next up on the menu then – launched last week – is the Impossible Sausage. No, this is not an April Fool’s joke come early, but the latest product from Impossible Foods, the private California-based private company behind the eponymous burger. This ‘sausage’ matters since pork is currently one of the most widely consumed meats in the world (we eat about 70% more of it than we do beef, per the United Nations) and the most popular in China. The novel vegan replicant version can apparently be grilled, sautéed, steamed or baked – just like the real thing. Impossible says that the sausage will shortly be available at Burger King in the US, with other food service outlets soon to follow.

Lest consumers worry, Impossible says that its new products have been designed to comply with both kosher and halal rules. Furthermore, the product contains no gluten, animal hormones or antibiotics (its salt content – of course – may be another matter). The new sausage is made using ‘heme’ (the same base used for its burgers), a plant-derived molecule that contains iron and resembles the colour of meat.

We have yet to sample the product and await with anticipation. Impossible is certainly pushing food boundaries and remains currently positioned at the epicentre of the alternative meat trend. The plant-based meat market is currently worth ~$20bn, but given current growth rates, could be worth $100bn by 2030 (per JP Morgan). Picking winners is a lot harder. Mass-market conventional sausages and burgers are highly commoditised, and it seems hard to believe that the non-meat alternatives sub-segment will be any different. It’s still very early days. As exciting as new products seem, we expect the quality of the products to evolve markedly going forward.  

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The document is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute investment advice or any recommendation to buy, or sell or otherwise transact in any investments. The document is not intended to be construed as investment research. The contents of this document are based upon sources of information which Heptagon Capital believes to be reliable. However, except to the extent required by applicable law or regulations, no guarantee, warranty or representation (express or implied) is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this document or its contents and, Heptagon Capital, its affiliate companies and its members, officers, employees, agents and advisors do not accept any liability or responsibility in respect of the information or any views expressed herein. Opinions expressed whether in general or in both on the performance of individual investments and in a wider economic context represent the views of the contributor at the time of preparation. Where this document provides forward-looking statements which are based on relevant reports, current opinions, expectations and projections, actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. All opinions and estimates included in the document are subject to change without notice and Heptagon Capital is under no obligation to update or revise information contained in the document. Furthermore, Heptagon Capital disclaims any liability for any loss, damage, costs or expenses (including direct, indirect, special and consequential) howsoever arising which any person may suffer or incur as a result of viewing or utilising any information included in this document. 

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