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The secret ingredient in Impossible Foods’ plant-based meats is biochemist Celeste Holz-Schietinger

The company’s acclaimed Impossible Burger is gaining steam. Next up: ground pork and pork sausage substitutes.

The secret ingredient in Impossible Foods’ plant-based meats is biochemist Celeste Holz-Schietinger
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Impossible Foods released a new version of its acclaimed plant-based burger in grocery stores and Burger Kings nationwide last year. As an encore, in January the company debuted its ground pork and pork sausage substitutes. Impossible Sausage is now available at 20,000 locations throughout the U.S. including Starbucks. As director of research, biochemist Celeste Holz-Schietinger oversees product innovation and flavor discovery within the company’s 150-person team of scientists, whose mission is not to simply imitate meats but to improve upon them. For the updated burger, the team reverse engineered the product to figure out the role that each ingredient played. They swapped in soy protein for wheat protein, which they discovered created off flavors. They also dialed back on coconut oil in favor of sunflower oil, which makes the burger better for grilling. To develop a pork substitute, the team started with the company’s beef and went from there. “Beef is very flavor-forward and bold,” says Holz-Schietinger. “Pork is characterized primarily by its subtlety.” The new product, which features more fat, is designed to mimic pork’s natural collagen proteins, which spring between your teeth and have a velvety richness. Impossible launched its sausages at select Burger Kings earlier this year. It’s now planning a wider rollout of both pork products.

About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company who has written about design, technology, and culture for almost 15 years. His work has appeared at Gizmodo, Kotaku, PopMech, PopSci, Esquire, American Photo and Lucky Peach

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