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OSI Group, Impossible Foods collaborate to manufacture products

OSI Group, Impossible Foods collaborate to manufacture products
Food processing company will begin producing Impossible Burger starting in August.

Impossible Foods has launched a co-manufacturing collaboration with global food provider OSI Group, one of the largest food producers in the world, to begin begin producing Impossible Foods’ flagship product, the Impossible Burger. Production is expected to start next month, adding short-term capacity to Impossible Foods’ plant in Oakland, Cal. OSI will continue to expand production of the Impossible Burger throughout 2019 and thereafter.

“We conducted an exhaustive due diligence process to determine how to scale our manufacturing both in the short term and over the next several years, and we were thoroughly impressed with OSI’s commitment to quality and responsiveness,” said senior vice president of product and operations Sheetal Shah, who joined Impossible Foods in May and oversees numerous functions, including manufacturing, supply chain and logistics.

“OSI has already installed equipment to make the Impossible Burger, and we’ll start seeing new capacity every week,” Shah added.

OSI can source, develop, produce and distribute custom food solutions worldwide. The privately held company, based in Aurora, Ill., has more than 65 facilities in 17 countries.

“We look forward to lending our expertise to Impossible Foods as it embarks on one of the most ambitious start-ups in the food industry,” said Kevin Scott, senior executive vice president of OSI North America. “At the same time, Impossible Foods will help fulfill the OSI Group’s commitment to sustainable food production -- one of the core prisms through which OSI management makes operational decisions.”

Increased demand

The co-manufacturing deal comes amid unprecedented demand for the company’s plant-based Impossible Burger, which debuted at chef David Chang’s Momofuku Nishi and other world-class restaurants in 2016.

In January 2019, Impossible Foods launched an upgraded Impossible Burger 2.0, and the company said sales have surged since then.

“Growth has come from every sales category in which the company does business: independent restaurants, large restaurant chains such as White Castle, Cheesecake Factory and Qdoba and non-commercial outlets such as theme parks, museums, stadiums and college campuses,” the company said, adding that the Impossible Burger is now on menus in about 10,000 restaurants on two continents.

Further, the company said in addition to an increasing number of restaurants that sell the product, chefs are expanding the number of items made from the plant-based meat, with average per-store volume increasing.

In April, Burger King, the world’s second-largest burger chain, debuted the Impossible Whopper in a regional test in St. Louis, Mo. Impossible Foods reported that the 59-unit regional test of the Impossible Whopper at Burger King restaurants in St. Louis has gone exceedingly well. As such, the Miami-based restaurant chain intends to bring the Impossible Whopper to all 7,200 of its U.S. restaurants.

Impossible Foods said sales have more than quadrupled in Asia since the product launched in Singapore in March 2019. The company added that its plant-based meat is sold in a wide range of restaurants and cuisines throughout Hong Kong, Singapore and Macau, including in internationally celebrated establishments by David Myers, Gordon Ramsay and Wolfgang Puck.

Impossible Foods plans to launch the Impossible Burger in retail outlets later this year.

Impossible Foods has tripled the weekly production rate and doubled the head count hired at its plant in Oakland since March 2019. The 68,000 sq. ft. plant produced an all-time record volume of product in May 2019 -- and then another record amount of product in June 2019 -- thanks to increased staffing and operational efficiency improvements.

TAGS: Business
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