After three years of selling convincing plant-based burgers, Impossible Foods is on the verge of releasing its next product: sausage.
We first learned about and tried the product during a trip to Impossible's headquarters in Redwood City, CA -- which you can read about here. In the test kitchen, Impossible cooked up a sausage patty for a breakfast sandwich and folded the ground meat into steamed siu mai, showing its versatility. The sausage is one of many new foods the company has been testing the waters for -- including eggs and steak -- as it bills itself as a "platform" for creating custom proteins rather than a vegan burger manufacturer.
The sausage ingredients are only mildly different to the burger's. The key flavoring still comes from "heme" -- the blood-like soy leghemoglobin which the company touts as its secret sauce -- but in smaller quantities. The potato protein from the burger has been removed, which the company says gives the meat a bouncier texture.
"One of the important things was that although the sausage was new, really it was depending on the platform that we already had," said David Lipman, Impossible's chief science officer. "The ingredients are very, very similar, but the ratios are different and they're different in ways that make pretty profound differences."
Sausage meat became a viable next product in part because it shares these ingredients, according to CEO Pat Brown. He also said that the company's "number one goal" is still to expand production of its plant-based beef alternative.
"We had a couple of customers come to us that were asking for a sausage product," he told Engadget. "Right now the biggest challenge for us, I would say, is scaling production. When we're thinking of new product, a very big consideration is how does it fit into our workflow? We see a ready path to making this happen."
Those similarities bode well for the company's "meat platform" pitch. It would be a first demonstration that Impossible can make a whole other meat taste similar with only minimal tweaks to its ingredients and manufacturing process. If customers enjoy eating it, that is -- how and where the Impossible sausage will be available is yet to be announced.