noscript
Semafor Logo

10 Minute Text


“You've led a sheltered life”: Impossible Foods CEO on plant-based meat

Peter McGuinness texts with Semafor's Ben Smith on chicken, chili, and why vegan meat isn't a fad.


Ben Smith said:

Peter — thank you for doing this. It’s the first in our series, but the general idea is to try to be normal and avoid extremely long paragraphs.

Ben Smith said:

For starters — can you send me a selfie and tell me where you are?

Peter McGuinness said:

Peter McGuinness said:

I’m in my barn

Ben Smith said:

It’s 3 pm on a Monday. Have you eaten any Impossible products yet today?

---

(That’s a very on-brand selfie btw)

Peter McGuinness said:

What is that a trick question ?

---

Of course

Ben Smith said:

For instance ...?

---

(Extra points if you have a photo of what’s left of your lunch)

Peter McGuinness said:

Impossible breakfast sandwich at Starbucks

---

Skipped lunch been a busy Monday

Ben Smith said:

You came to this role from Chobani. Is the challenge of trying to get Americans to buy Impossible Burgers similar to getting people excited about extremely dense yogurt?

Peter McGuinness said:

There are some parallels

Peter McGuinness said:

Can you send me a selfie

Ben Smith said:

Ben Smith said:

On Mulberry Street in Chinatown, where mock duck is king ...

Peter McGuinness said:

Got it
---
Nice

Ben Smith said:

Peter McGuinness said:

What’s that article
---
Haven’t seen it

Ben Smith said:

Haha. I believe you took out an ad in the Times.

Peter McGuinness said:

Yes we did
---
Article was an opinion piece
---
And there are always two sides to a story so wanted share some other opinions

Peter McGuinness said:

And some facts

Ben Smith said:

What’s the clearest evidence to you that this isn’t a fad? Some of the numbers in there — especially about declines for Beyond Meat — are pretty compelling.

Peter McGuinness said:

Our growth for starters

Peter McGuinness said:

And the fact that over 90% of people who eat our burgers and chicken nuggets eat animal meat

Ben Smith said:

What’s the fastest-growing product?

Peter McGuinness said:

Our chicken products

---

Have you tried them

Ben Smith said:

I use the ground beef for chili a lot — have not branched out into chicken.

Peter McGuinness said:

You’ve lead a sheltered life you gotta try the impossible chicken

---
Great on the chili, the ground beef is so versatile. Makes a great bolognese, taco too

Ben Smith said:

Last q: Do you worry about competition from other alternatives? Cellular meats? Insects? (Sorry I was just in Davos...)

Peter McGuinness said:

Not worried
---
We’re just getting started and focused on our continued growth given the size of the market

---

But as leader of the category and a conscience company we’re always rooting for anyone that shares our mission

Ben Smith said:

Alright. Well — thank you for taking the time!