The plant-based meat company Impossible Foods has taken another significant step on the path to mass adoption of its products. By securing Child Nutrition (CN) Labels for its Impossible Burger, it can now be served in schools in the US as part of school nutrition programs. This opens up a whole new market segment for the company and signals growing acceptance of alternative proteins in addition to an increase in demand.
In order to receive the CN Labels, Impossible Burger products needed to be inspected and evaluated by the US Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Services (FNS). This process includes looking at the makeup of the product and the way in which it is manufactured. CN Labels are used to determine how much a certain food contributes to the federal meal pattern requirements for nutritionally balanced meals for children each school day.
Pat Brown, CEO and Founder of Impossible Foods, had this to say in a statement: “Making Impossible™ products available everywhere people consume meat, which for kids often includes schools, is key to the mission of the company. Schools not only play a role in shaping children’s dietary patterns, they play an important role in providing early education about climate change and its root causes. We are thrilled to be partnering with K-12 school districts across the country to lower barriers to access our plant-based meat for this change-making generation.”
Now that Impossible Foods has CN Labels in the bag, it is planning on running pilot programs in various school districts across the United States. Among the pilot locations are Palo Alto Unified School District, Palo Alto, CA; Aberdeen School District, Aberdeen, WA; Deer Creek Public Schools, Edmond, OK; and Union City Public Schools, Union City, OK.
The interesting aspect of this strategy from Impossible Foods is that they are deliberately targeting existing meat-based markets. Rather than aiming at the vegan and vegetarian sector, they are aiming to replace meat as the protein of choice. It’s a strategy that has been working well for the company. As we reported last year, 72% of Impossible Food’s sales are displacing animal-derived foods. It makes sense as an approach – rather than competing for the smaller market share of vegans and vegetarians, it is competing for the much larger market.
Entering the school sector is another important milestone in Impossible Food’s efforts to totally replace all animal-based food by 2035. It’s an ambitious target to aim for, and even if they don’t succeed completely, the more displacement there is, the better it will be for the environment. Targeting the next generation through the school sector is a forward-thinking and bold move.