Of all the alternative-to-animal-based products on the market today, milk is perhaps one of the most common. Shoppers can choose everything from almond milk to oat milk and everything in between. As such, Impossible Foods’ new work on plant-based milk seems a bit odd at first glance.
The alternative food giant announced during a press conference on Tuesday that it is branching out from fake meat into fake dairy. It plans to produce a plant-based milk product called Impossible Milk.
Of course, it won’t be like the other soy or nut-based milk options on the shelves today. Impossible Milk is designed to taste and function metabolically like cow’s milk. That could make it a more nutritious option for those wanting all the benefits of milk without the cow.
In just a few years, Impossible Foods has managed to take a novel idea and turn it into a product that is relatively commonplace. Thanks to partnerships with major fast-food chains like Burger King, the Impossible Burger seems more possible than ever.
During Tuesday’s press conference, Impossible CEO Pat Brown said, “The plant-based alternatives that are out there are inadequate. The reality is that if they weren’t, there wouldn’t be a dairy market.”
Currently, Impossible Milk is still in the development stage. In other words, it isn’t available for consumers to try. That being said, the company showed off a sample of the product during Tuesday’s demonstration.
It looks creamier than other milk alternatives, which tend to be on the watery side. Interestingly, Impossible claims that the plant-based milk won’t curdle when it is added to hot beverages like a cup of coffee. That could be an important feature that helps set it apart from nut- and soy-based milks.
To help with the development of Impossible Milk and other plant-based alternative products, the company plans to double the size of its R&D team over the course of the next 12 months. That’s a noteworthy expansion. However, it is necessary if Impossible plans on keeping up with its rapid growth.
It aims to hire more than 100 scientists from around the globe. Impossible says that those who join its team will have access to “facilities, resources, and [an] innovative environment to create an entirely new technology platform to replace animals as our technology for turning plants into meat, fish, and dairy foods.”
Ethical and Environmental Win
Consumers seek out plant-based food options for a number of reasons. Two major factors are ethical and environmental concerns. Impossible’s upcoming milk product will help address both of those issues.
The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that nearly 15 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture. Dairy farms are responsible for a large portion of that since cows produce a ton of methane. By switching to plant-based milk, consumers are doing a small part to help the environment.
As for the issue of ethics, the practices surrounding the modern-day dairy industry are questionable at best. Many people would be happy to switch to a plant-based alternative if it were available and comparable to real milk.
If Impossible is able to create a plant-based milk that tastes, digests, and acts like real cow’s milk, it could have a new superstar product on its hands.