The makers of the Impossible Burger are testing a milk product that tastes like the real thing.
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3 min read
Got milk? If you’re like a growing number of people, the stuff you put in your coffee or your cereal comes from plants —like almonds, soy, rice or oats — and not from cows. But there’s just one problem: These plant-based milks don’t taste or act like their dairy doppelganger.
Impossible Foods, the company that brought you the Impossible Burger, Pork and Sausage, is working on a prototype of cow’s milk. Earlier this week, the company’s CEO and Founder, Dr. Patrick O. Brown, announced that they would be bringing on more than 100 scientists in the next 12 months as part of their Impossible Investigator program.
“We want the milk that a dairy milk consumer will choose,” Brown said in a virtual conference call with reporters.
Impossible Foods is on a mission to end the use of animals to make food. “The greatest problem we face today is our reliance on animal agriculture — the most destructive technology on earth,” said Dr. Brown. Indeed, research shows that animal agriculture is the second-largest contributor to human-made greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions after fossil fuels and is a leading cause of deforestation, water, air pollution and biodiversity loss.
Setting their sights on the milk industry doesn’t just make good environmental sense; it’s good business. The plant-based milk category is worth $2 billion, according to a report by The Good Food Institute and Plant-Based Foods Association. Sales of plant-based milk grew 5 percent in the past year, while cow’s milk sales have declined 3 percent.
Still in development
But the problem with health-food alternatives is frequently their taste and texture. Anyone who has ever enjoyed a frothy latte with cow’s milk knows that soy or almond alternatives are just not the same. Impossible Foods knows that to convert milk lovers, they must create plant-based items that are udderly indistinguishable from the animal-derived counterparts.
During the virtual conference at Impossible’s lab in Redwood City, California, Laura Kliman, the senior flavor scientist at Impossible, demonstrated the Impossible Milk prototype. She poured some milk into a hot cup of coffee and showed how the two could seamlessly blend. (Plant-based milk alternatives often curdle when mixed with milk.) She even put on her barista cap while displaying how Impossible Milk could foam up like dairy milk.
So when can you try it out yourself? Unfortunately, the milk is still in the development stages, so it will be a while before consumers are able to taste it. Also in development: The Impossible Egg, which actually comes in a shell.