After spending years on high-end restaurant menus, the Impossible Burger is making its way to a store near you.
On Friday, Impossible Foods began rolling out its famous burger at grocery store in Southern California, the company announced. The burger, which hit the shelves of 27 Gelson’s Markets locations, will arrive on the East Coast in the coming weeks. The meatless paddy is expected to continue its expansion nationwide throughout the rest of the year and into early 2020.
“We can’t wait for home cooks to experience the magic—whether using Impossible Burger in their family favorites or inventing new recipes that go viral,” said Impossible Foods’ CEO, Dr. Patrick O. Brown, in the release.
Until now, the company’s retail ambitions had been set back as it awaited approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its use of soy leghemoglobin (heme). This is due to the company’s plans to use the chemical as the “key ingredient,” providing a “bloody,” uncooked beef look on store shelves. They were eventually granted approval.
“Our first step into retail is a watershed moment in Impossible Foods’ history,” said Senior Vice President Nick Halla, who’s heading the retail expansion, in a statement. “We’re thrilled and humbled that our launch partners for this limited release are homegrown, beloved grocery stores with cult followings in their regions.”
The Impossible Burger will now join competitor Beyond Meat in the plant-based aisles across the country. The retail release arrives at a crucial time for the company, as it juggles supplying chain restaurants experiencing high demand for the burger. The shortage issue prompted the startup to beef up its manufacturing operations with an OSI Group partnership, which will help increase production to meet demand.
With the Impossible Burger currently sold at more than 17,000 restaurants, the addition of retail sales is expected to push its popularity even further thanks to its availability to home cooks.