Impossible Foods, maker of the eponymous soy-based meat alternatives, is cutting prices for food-service distributors for the second time in a year as part of its push to better compete price-wise with traditional ground beef.
The company is dropping prices by an average of 15% for distributors in the U.S., making the lowest price for its burger product $6.80 per pound, according to Impossible spokesperson Rachel Konrad. That’s still more than three times the price of ground beef, its stated competitor — beef that’s 81% lean is selling for about $1.86 per pound wholesale, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data. But it lets Impossible’s meat compete on price with higher end beef products, like grass-fed.
Price has always been a question mark in the future of imitation meat products, which have grown increasingly similar to meat in taste and texture but retain a markup over their animal-based competition. Wholesale beef prices that had surged to a record last May due to plant shutdowns have since come back down.
“We’re definitely planning to continue to do more price cuts this year,” Konrad said, while noting that distributors and restaurants will control whether or not the end consumers actually see lower prices. “We’re asking distributors to pass the savings down,” she said.
Impossible is also trimming prices for distributors in Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau.
Once a hard-to-find item available at only expensive, trendy eateries, Impossible products are now on menus at national chains such as Starbucks and Burger King. Fast-food chains have fared significantly better than independent restaurants since the pandemic began: In December, full service sit-down restaurants saw transactions decline 30%, while quick-service restaurants were down only 8%, compared to the same period last year, according to market research group NPD’s Crest Performance Alerts.
The growth for meat alternatives has outpaced meat at grocery stores, which have seen a huge surge of sales since Americans began eating nearly all their meals at home. Alternative meat sales were up 61% for December compared to the previous year, while overall meat saw an increase of 17% over the same period, according to data from Nielsen.