The wait is over. This week Impossible Foods sent a memo to its restaurant partners announcing that its much-publicized product shortage, which began in March, is officially over. The company informed restaurant partners that they now have ample stock of the Impossible Burger and are lifting allocation caps.
In the aforementioned memo, Impossible noted that they produced a record amount of plant-based beef in June and are on track to make even more in July. In an email to The Spoon, Impossible’s Chief Communications Officer Rachel Konrad also stated that since March the company has doubled staff and tripled production rates at their plant in Oakland, California. They’ll also soon announce a partnership with a “major manufacturing operator” to increase production capacity even further and accelerate the pace of innovation for new products (like fish!).
When we reported on the shortage last month, the company seemed to think Impossible burgers would be back in stock by mid to late June. Clearly that timeline was a bit ambitious, but not too much so. Impossible has put in some serious hustle to ramp up manufacturing lately. An Impossible spokesperson told The Spoon that the company was “literally working 24-7” to amp up production.
Interestingly, Impossible is only producing five-pound bricks of their meatless meat “to keep manufacturing efficiency,” so restaurants will have to form their own patties in-house. This shouldn’t be a huge hurdle for smaller mom & pop restaurants, but I wonder how major chains are reacting to this extra task (assuming the brick rule applies to them as well). For high-volume restaurants, having to divide and shape the bricks of meat could be a significant time suck.
Impossible isn’t the only plant-based meat company to struggle with production problems. Last year Beyond had some supply issues of its own — so much so it had to delay entry into the U.K. market until it could make more product. However, since then it hasn’t had any production hiccups. In fact, on its first-ever earnings call Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown said the company would have no issues providing product for new high-volume QSR partnerships.
It’s too early to tell if Impossible has similarly put a similar end to its own struggles. Dennis Woodside, President of Impossible Foods, was hesitant to say that the production problems were behind them. “I can’t say 100 percent with certainty that in nine months — if there’s a massive spike in demand — that we won’t see some spotty shortages, he told CNN Business.
Based on Impossible’s roadmap, some sort of spike in demand could very well happen. It’s currently in the process of rolling out to 7,200 Burger King locations and is simultaneously gearing up for a retail launch this fall. Plus, consumer demand for plant-based meat is on the rise with no sign of slowing down.