42. Impossible Foods

Sustainable foods made from plants

Where's the meat? In the veggies: Impossible Foods
Where's the meat? In the veggies: Impossible Foods   

Founder: Patrick O. Brown
Date launched: 2012
Funding: $74 million
Industries disrupted: Agriculture, food processing

A Stanford biochemistry professor is the latest entrepreneur looking to upend the global food industry. Patrick Brown is founder and CEO of Impossible Foods, a Redwood City, California-based start-up that creates plant-based meat and cheese substitutes. Its first product—the Impossible Burger—is set to launch in the U.S. next year.

Brown and other companies in the field, including Hampton Creek and Beyond Meat, believe that raising animals for food is an inefficient, destructive and unnecessary technology. Impossible Foods uses plant ingredients to make what it claims are delicious, healthy and affordable meats and cheeses. And because the food is made directly from plants, they have no cholesterol, hormones, antibiotics and no chance of being contaminated by bacteria from a slaughterhouse. Brown says his company will be able to make any of the foods currently derived from animals—cheese, milk, bacon, pork, steak and chicken—directly from plants.

Read MoreFULL LIST: 2015 DISRUPTOR 50

Venture capital firms are increasingly smitten with food companies that can make sustainable versions of meat and cheese products. Khosla Ventures, Horizons Ventures and Bill Gates are among the investors that have provided Impossible Foods with $74 million in financing since it was started in 2012.

Pat Brown, founder and CEO of Impossible Foods
Source: Impossible Foods
Pat Brown, founder and CEO of Impossible Foods
"The total amount of plant biomass will be much greater and far more diverse as we switch from making meat and cheese from livestock to plants. Our impact should be easily visible from outer space." -Patrick O. Brown, founder and CEO of Impossible Foods

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