- Impossible Foods is moving closer to price parity with ground beef with a 20% price cut of its plant-based hamburgers at U.S. grocery stores. Suggested retail prices for Impossible Burger are now $5.49 for patties and $6.99 for a 12-oz. package.
- This is the first price cut since Impossible Foods' products launched in grocery stores in late 2019. Today, the plant-based burgers are sold at about 17,000 stores nationwide, the company said, with production increasing sixfold since 2019. According to Impossible Foods, its plant-based burger sales are at an all-time high. The company is encouraging retailers to pass along savings to consumers as quickly as possible. Some international markets also will see price cuts.
- Impossible Foods has long focused on undercutting conventional meat prices, giving consumers a financial incentive — along with those related to sustainability and not eating meat — to choose their products. The company, which started selling its plant-based patties in foodservice in 2016, previously cut prices twice to foodservice distributors in the last year: A 15% cut in March and another 15% reduction in January.
Impossible Foods is pushing closer to what was once thought to be impossible: A plant-based burger that mimics the appearance, taste and texture of meat, and costs close to the same price.
A 20% price cut moves the needle closer to the all-important price parity. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the cost of lean and extra lean ground beef at the grocery store in December was $5.72 a pound. With this price cut, Impossible Burgers are in striking range with the cost of beef.
Plant-based meat sales have grown exponentially in the last year, and Impossible and other providers have focused on reducing costs to consumers. As the company produces more plant-based meat, Impossible Foods President Dennis Woodside wrote in a blog post on Tuesday, it costs them less to produce it. And those price cuts get passed on to consumers in order to help them buy more — something he described as a "virtuous cycle."
“Our plan is to reverse global warming and halt our planet’s extinction crisis by making the food system sustainable," Impossible Foods Founder and CEO Pat Brown said in a press release. "To do that, we need to make meat better in every way that matters to consumers—taste, nutrition, convenience and affordability. With economies of scale, we intend to keep lowering prices until we undercut those of ground beef from cows. Today’s price cut is merely our latest — not our last.”
Research Impossible Foods is doing shows the company is making a difference in how much animal-based meat consumers are buying. According to statistics the company shared from analytics firm Numerator, 82 cents out of every dollar spent on Impossible Burger in the last 13 weeks was redirected from spending on meat. Proportional spending on Impossible Burger has increased as consumers hunker down more at home because of the pandemic. This statistic was 72 cents of every dollar in September.
Impossible isn't the only company that has been working hard to slash consumer prices. Before the Butcher got to price parity with its Mainstream line of frozen plant-based patties, which hit grocers' shelves in October. These patties, which are on par in quality with conventional frozen pre-made hamburgers, cost about $5.50 a pound.
Beyond Meat also is working to reduce its costs to consumers. While it hasn't had any recent launches or announcements aimed directly at permanent price cuts, it was the first in the industry to get close with its limited-time Cookout Classic value packs of patties released last summer. These larger packages put the cost at about $6.40 a pound.
In November, Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown — no relation to Impossible's Pat Brown — announced the $14.5 million acquisition of one of its co-packers to help expand scale and further reduce consumer cost. And in an interesting coincidence, Beyond Meat advertised a 20% discount on value packs purchased on its website to its consumer email list on Tuesday, just as Impossible was announcing its price cut.
As the plant-based meat section gets more crowded, price is one way that brands stay competitive. While Impossible's Pat Brown and others have said they are truly only competing with the larger meat industry, each existing plant-based brand also is undoubtedly interested in growing its own market share. According to a recent study from IRI, consumers are expected to become more price sensitive in 2021 as the economic toll of the pandemic continues to deepen. After so many consumers tried plant-based protein in 2020, lower prices are a way to help them keep on buying it.