Impossible Foods president on its 'stepping stone' into the Middle East

·3-min read

The United Arab Emirates is about to get its first taste of the Impossible Burger.

The kosher, halal and gluten-free certified plant-based burger is Impossible Foods’ first entry into the Middle East. The company’s flagship product will be available at select restaurants across Dubai and United Arab Emirates beginning Oct. 1, with plans to enter local grocery stores at a later date.

“The UAE is really a stepping stone into the Middle East,” Impossible Foods’ president,Dennis Woodside told Yahoo Finance Live. “Over 20 million travelers go through the UAE every single year and many are accustomed to eating our products elsewhere in the world, so we think that that's a natural place to start.”

It marks the California-based company’s fourth commercial launch after fake ground beef product. Impossible Foods rolled out soy-based chicken nuggets at select U.S. restaurants this month, as well as in the frozen food aisle of major grocers including Walmart, Safeway, and Kroger. Woodside said the nuggets are expected to be in 10,000 stores by the end of the year.

Impossible Foods introduced soy-based chicken nuggets in September at select restaurants and major retail chains in the U.S.
Impossible Foods introduced soy-based chicken nuggets in September at select restaurants and major retail chains in the U.S.

The company also launched faux pork at select U.S. restaurants this month and will start selling it at more than 100 restaurants in Hong Kong Oct. 4 and Singapore later this year.

“Pork is really important for us,” said Woodside. “Outside of the U.S., pork is one of the most widely consumed meats. And the news about this product, for the first time ever, a plant-based meat is consistently beating animal meat in consumer tests.”

In a recent blind taste test conducted by Impossible Foods, 54% of consumers in Hong Kong preferred the taste of the meatless pork over the actual pig product.

​​Woodside said the pork alternative not only beats the animal product in taste, but also in nutritional value. According to Impossible Foods, the soy-based pork product provides the same amount of protein as its meat counterpart, but with no cholesterol, one-third less saturated fat, and far fewer calories.

However, scientists are quick to point out that these faux meat products have more sodium than their traditional counterparts. A 4-ounce patty of beef that’s 90% lean has 77 mg of sodium compared with 370 mg for the Impossible Burger.

Impossible Foods faux beef patty cheese-melt.
Impossible Foods faux beef patty cheese-melt.

Woodside said Impossible Foods has not been impacted by short-term price fluctuations because the company has locked in pricing for its core ingredients for years. But, he admitted the company has been affected by some “shipping snafus” that continue to disrupt supply chains across many industries. 

“We've been able to manage through those without any kind of major stockout,” he said. “We have experienced some increased shipping costs. Those are offset, though, by the reduced costs overall that we're experiencing as we scale our manufacturing footprint. And we get more product from the same assets.”

While many food companies have been passing higher costs onto consumers due to inflation pressures, Woodside said Impossible Foods’ strategy is to reduce prices over time and get them in line or even lower than prices for traditional meat products.

“We've lowered prices twice in the last roughly 20 months – about 15% to 20% each time,” said Woodside. “Each time we lower prices, we see our volume go up.”

Alexis Christoforous is an anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @AlexisTVNews.

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