Qdoba announced yesterday that it is broadening its use of Impossible’s plant-based “meat” to all of its locations across the U.S. The Mexican food chain had been running tests of Impossible in Michigan, and is the latest high-profile brand to expand its use of alternative proteins as restaurants revamp their menus to keep up with growing demand for plant-based products.
Impossible is famous for its heme-based burger patties that “bleed,” though the Qdoba offering will be ground and used in bowls and tacos. Starting April 23, Impossible will be available at Qdoba locations in Brooklyn, Denver and Los Angeles. All of the more than 730 Qdoba’s will have the Impossible option by May 28.
Restaurants are fast becoming hip to consumer desire for plant-based protein. The Qdoba news comes just days after Del Taco announced the addition of Beyond Meat to the menus of its 580 locations across the country. Earlier this month, Burger King announced a pilot program with Impossible in Missouri. Impossible “meat” can also be found at White Castles and Red Robins, while Beyond Meat is at Carl’s Jr. and the Canadian A&W chain.
But restaurants are just one front in the battle between the alterna-meat biggies. Impossible also said it is going into grocery stores this year, where Beyond Meat already enjoys a sizeable foothold.
All of this positioning at various retail outlets comes as Beyond Meat prepares its IPO. Should that public debut go well, it will have enough money to scale up and expand further into restaurants and deeper into grocery stores. A good IPO for Beyond will also help pave the way for Impossible, which has raised $387.5 million, to go public as well.
Even with all this activity, there’s plenty of, err, meat on the restaurant bones left. Expect more news like Qdoba’s (and Del Taco, and Burger King…) to continue apace throughout the coming months.