- Impossible Sausage will be available at retailers nationwide starting this month. The plant-based sausage product debuted last year in foodservice locations throughout the United States.
- The new Impossible product will be in a ground sausage form in two flavors: Savory and Spicy. It will be sold at Kroger, Ralphs, King Soopers, Fred Meyer, Safeway, Albertsons, Wegmans, Stop & Shop, Hannaford, Giant Martins, Giant Food, ShopRite, Sprouts Farmers Market, and Heinen’s.
- Impossible Foods is working to expand its reach as the company is rumored to be preparing for an IPO. Last month, the company announced it would be launching chicken nuggets to foodservice in the fall. Over the summer, it received Child Nutrition Labels from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for Impossible Burgers and Sausage, making it easier for school cafeterias to use the company's plant-based meat in menu planning.
The grocery launch of Impossible Sausage has long been anticipated by the plant-based meat company's fans. Sausage was Impossible Foods' second-ever product, following its namesake burger.
Company representatives said at a press conference about the sausage product last summer that they operate under a "worst first" perspective, creating plant-based substitutes for the animal products that are most damaging to consumers and the environment. Pork is the world's most consumed meat, Impossible Foods Founder and CEO Pat Brown said, and operations are known for their inefficiency. He added that high rates of antibiotic use in pork farming could also make these operations incubators for antibiotic-resistant viruses.
Since the foodservice launch of Impossible Sausage, the company has seen dramatic changes. Impossible Foods was a foodservice-only company until late 2019, when its plant-based burgers launched in 150 grocery stores nationwide. A gradual retail expansion was planned for 2020, but the pandemic dramatically accelerated those plans. Currently, the company said in an email, its retail network includes more than 22,000 locations.
"Following the success of Impossible Sausage in foodservice at restaurants like Starbucks and others, we felt that now was the right time for us to introduce ground sausage to home chefs," a company spokesperson said in an email.
There's already a wide selection of plant-based sausage products available at grocery stores, so Impossible joins a more crowded category. Plant-based rival Beyond Meat has sold its plant-based sausages in stores since late 2017, with a breakfast sausage variety launching last March. Plant-based brands including Conagra's Gardein, Maple Leaf Foods' Lightlife and Kellogg's Incogmeato also have sausage on the market. And Tyson’s legacy Jimmy Dean brand launched breakfast sandwiches featuring plant-based sausage patties in January.
Regardless of other players, Impossible Sausage does have the branding to help it stand out. The company has also designed the product with a taste and eating experience it says is comparable to actual sausage. In a press release announcing the retail launch, the company says two-thirds of consumers in a home usage test said Impossible's product tasted as good or better than traditional pork sausage.
At the press conference last summer, now-Director of New Product Development Laura Kliman said the company worked to replicate the springy texture and fatty mouthfeel of sausage. The product contains some soy leghemoglobin — the company's plant-based heme ingredient, which it says makes products taste more like meat — but not as much as its burgers.
But Impossible Foods says it is not competing with other plant-based brands. Brown has famously said that his company’s only competition is the existing meat industry. From that standpoint, Impossible Sausage is healthier than its meat-based counterpart, the company says. According to the press release, compared to a leading brand of ground pork sausage, Impossible Sausage has 30% fewer calories, 47% less total fat and 43% less saturated fat when cooked.
It remains to be seen if Impossible’s plant-based sausage will turn the heads and fill the carts of more meat eaters. However, flexitarians looking to try something new, especially from a hot company, may find this product more enticing than some of the others currently on shelves.