Impossible is gearing up to start selling across the pond. Bloomberg broke the news yesterday that the plant-based meat startup had filed with the EU to gain regulatory approval for their products — specifically soy hemoglobin, the molecule that gives Impossible’s meat its “bleeding” flavor and appearance.
We reached out to Impossible, who confirmed that it has indeed filed paperwork with the European Food Safety Authority, the EU agency that provides independent scientific advice regarding the food chain.
“Impossible Foods’ intention is to sell plant-based meat in every single region of the world,” the PR rep told me. “As always, the company will meet or exceed all food-safety regulations in every single region of the world, including Europe.”
Impossible might have a trickier time gaining EU regulatory approval than other areas of the world. Europe is far stricter on genetically modified foods than the U.S. While technically heme isn’t genetically modified — it’s the output of genetically modified yeast — it could still throw up some red flags for the European Food Safety Authority.
Even if it does again approval, Impossible will have to distinguish itself from very crowded plant-based meat space in Europe. Retail shelves already sport plenty of alt-meat options from giants like Quorn and Unilever’s Vegetarian Butcher. Nestlé also sells its plant-based burger in McDonald’s Germany. And let’s not forget that Beyond, Impossible’s chief competitor, currently sells in several countries in the EU and is opening a new manufacturing facility in the Netherlands.
Since Impossible’s plant-based meat technically is free from GMO’s, I’m guessing that eventually the company will get regulatory approval to sell in the EU. The bigger question is whether the market will be so saturated by then that Impossible won’t be able to create as much brand recognition as it has in other parts of the world.