The only thing that is interesting about White Castle right now is its collaboration with Impossible Foods.
— Erika Adams
Plant-based protein producer Impossible Foods announced a new and improved Impossible Burger recipe at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on Monday. To roll out the new formula, Impossible Foods turned to their friends at White Castle, the company’s largest restaurant chain partner in the U.S.
“The new product is a vast improvement of our old recipe,” J. Michael Melton, the technical sales and culinary manager, said at the CES launch. “Ultimately it’s juicier, meatier and beefier than before. The versatility has improved as well. And you can use it in the same way that you would use any other ground meat protein.” (Impossible Foods just faced another FDA complaint regarding its faux burger meat in late December.)
The new formula is currently being served at three White Castle locations in Las Vegas, and the chain confirmed plans to roll out the new protein blend to all other White Castle locations over the next couple of months.
“White Castle is Impossible Foods’ largest customer so far, and the partnership has been a total sensation—acclaimed by food critics and a social media phenomenon with a trending hashtag,” David Lee, Impossible Foods’ chief operating officer and chief financial officer, said in a statement. “There was never any doubt White Castle would get first priority for the national rollout of our new recipe.”
The announcement comes ahead of Impossible Foods’ plan to launch in retail outlets in 2019, a significant next step for the company. While Impossible Foods has largely focused on the restaurant channel for distribution so far, one of its main competitors, Beyond Meat, is in both restaurants and retail and receives the lion’s share of its revenue from its retail channels.
On the consumer side, people are ready for a flood of plant-based protein on menus and in the grocery store. According to a recent YouGov survey that polled 1,200 U.S. adults in late November, 34 percent of Americans would consider incorporating plant-based food into their diets to achieve healthier eating habits, and 80 percent of those surveyed indicated that flavor was the most important factor in deciding whether or not to try plant-based foods.