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Impossible Foods CEO says competitors 'suck' and reinforce 'the idea that plant-based meat replacements are terrible'

Key Points
  • In an interview with Food Dive, Impossible Foods CEO Pat Brown says other companies offering plant-based alternatives make products that "suck."
  • Brown says when consumers eat these products, it hurts Impossible Foods because it "reinforces the idea that plant-based meat replacements are terrible."
  • Despite the company's success in the industry, Brown told CNBC in August that it's not the right time for the company to go public.
Impossible Foods CEO Pat Brown holds up an Impossible Burger 2.0, the new and improved version of the company's plant-based vegan burger that tastes like real beef, at a press event during CES 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada on January 7, 2019.
Robyn Beck | AFP | Getty Images

Impossible Foods CEO Pat Brown is not impressed with other companies offering meat alternatives.

In an interview with Food Dive, Brown said that while the high number of companies jumping into the space shows momentum for the industry, it hurts Impossible Foods when someone else makes a product that's not up to par.

"The only negative is that most of those products, to be honest, tend to suck, and I think that hurts us," Brown said in the interview. "The best thing they could do for us is make better products because every time someone who hasn't tried our product tries one of those products, it reinforces the idea that plant-based meat replacements are terrible."

The CEO acknowledged there's a high bar when it comes to meat alternatives, Food Dive said, and it's difficult to be successful without the right combination of taste and nutrients, as well as convenience, affordability and performance.

Impossible Foods declined CNBC's request for further comment.

The company said it raised more than $300 million in a funding round in May and began selling its plant-based burger in grocery stores last month. Burger King also began selling the company's Impossible Whopper earlier this year.

Despite the company's success in the industry, Brown told CNBC in August that it's not the right time for the company to go public.

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Impossible Foods CEO on debut at Gelson's and competitor Beyond Meat

"We've been very lucky to have great investors," Brown said. "No shortage of great investors when we need money to support our growth. From a financial standpoint, there is no urgency to go public."

Impossible Foods' rival Beyond Meat went public in May, but Brown doesn't see the competition as an issue.

"Between Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, we share less than 1% of the U.S. market for ground beef," he told CNBC. "The other 99% is still out there and it would be crazy for us to focus on Beyond Meat as the competition. We're focused on the other 99%."

Read the full interview with Food Dive here.

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