Impossible Foods will soon debut Impossible Pork, its first new product since the Impossible Burger made its mark on grocery stores and fast-food menus nationwide. The pork substitute was sampled at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week and will appear on limited Burger King menus, along with another new product, Impossible Sausage, in late January.
The rollout coincides with an increased public interest in food sustainability, particularly when it comes to meat. Pork is widely recognized as the most commonly consumed meat in the world. While it’s more sustainable than beef or lamb, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FOA) of the United Nations, “high-density pig production can release excessive amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus into the environment, and the high doses of copper and zinc fed to pigs to promote growth eventually accumulate in the soil.”
Also fueling an interest in pork substitutes is the recent outbreak of African Swine Fever in China, where half of the world’s pork is cultivated. African Swine Fever, it’s worth noting, is harmless to people, but lethal to pigs. According to a 2019 NPR report, “300 million to 350 million pigs [have been] lost in China, which is almost a quarter of the world’s pork supply.”
Impossible Pork, according to Impossible Foods, “is characterized by its mild savory flavor, adding delicate depth and umami richness without being gamey or overpowering.” The company purports that the product will also appeal to those who don’t eat pork for religious or ethical reasons, as previously taboo dishes will now be in line with their values. The marketing, as evident by the press release, seems intent at expanding our idea of what Impossible meat is supposed to be. While previously it’s largely been considered a strictly beef burger substitute to appeal to the American fast-food palate, Impossible Pork advertises itself as a more versatile and intercultural ingredient, suitable for “spring rolls, stuffed vegetables, dumplings, wontons or sausage links.”
It might take a while for Impossible Pork to have its desired global reach, and even those in the U.S. might have a hard time tracking it down immediately:
“Impossible Sausage will debut in late January exclusively at 139 Burger King restaurants in five test regions: Savannah, Georgia; Lansing, Michigan; Springfield, Illinois; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Montgomery, Alabama. The all-new, limited-time-only Impossible™ Croissan’wich® features a toasted croissant, egg, cheese and a seasoned plant-based sausage from Impossible Foods. This test makes Burger King® restaurants the first restaurant to sell Impossible Sausage in a breakfast sandwich.”
And if you want to avoid Burger King entirely, Impossible Pork’s arrival at the grocery store is still TBD.