Impossible Foods is experimenting with a dairy-free alternative that tastes and behaves...

Shawn Knight

Posts: 12,698   +124
Staff member
In brief: Impossible Foods during a digital press conference on Tuesday announced it is working on a plant-based alternative to cow’s milk. The research is part of a bigger initiative that'll see the company double the size of its R&D team over the next 12 months. And they've got the cash to do it, too, having raised some $700 million in funding in 2020 alone.

As CNBC highlights, there are no shortages of non-dairy alternatives already on the market such as soy and almond milk. Impossible Foods’ product, dubbed a prototype at this stage, will look to replicate some of the things that consumers enjoy about cow’s milk – namely, the taste and how it behaves.

Impossible CEO Pat Brown told journalists that he simply doesn’t like the taste of soy milk.

“The plant-based alternatives that are out there are inadequate,” Brown noted. “The reality is that if they weren’t, there wouldn’t be a dairy market.”

What’s more, some plant milks don’t play well when added to hot coffee and can curdle.

Non-dairy milk could be a good fit for Impossible Foods as it looks to expand beyond meat alternatives. According to the NPD Group, milk consumption was part of 15 percent of all eating occasions in 1984 but fell to just nine percent by 2019.

Still, there’s money to be had, especially in alternatives. Last year alone, non-dairy milk products were a $1.8 billion market. Even if Impossible Foods could capture a small percentage of that market, it’d be a lot of money.

Impossible Foods didn’t provide a timeline for the launch of its alternative milk product.

Image credit: luchschenF, Rattiya Thongdumhyu

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Plutoisaplanet

Posts: 334   +405
I doubt they’ll come up with a real replacement but if they do, I’ll be the first to judge if it’s good enough to replace milk or cheese. It’s about as complicated as egg or meat not because of the texture but because there are very specific sugars and proteins involved that our bodies can distinguish.

I will say I have tried a lactose free milk option that comes dead close to normal milk, so that it’s something I find to be a true replacement: Fairlife.
 
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ColdSoup

Posts: 97   +193
As far as drinking milk, I think there is a good chance a substitute can be made. Almond milk is already not bad by itself but the texture is just a little bit off. It's the baking/cooking uses that will be harder to replicate and get the same results.
 
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Nobina

Posts: 2,725   +2,373
Wait, why would you replace milk? If I want to drink milk or eat cheese I'm not gonna settle for some shitty chemical knockoff.
 
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dangh

Posts: 165   +195
I'm fine with almond milk, using it for cooking and drinking and it is very good. Still looking for cheese alternative.
 

mattferg

Posts: 88   +54
I doubt they’ll come up with a real replacement but if they do, I’ll be the first to judge if it’s good enough to replace milk or cheese. It’s about as complicated as egg or meat not because of the texture but because there are very specific sugars and proteins involved that our bodies can distinguish.

I will say I have tried a lactose free milk option that comes dead close to normal milk, so that it’s something I find to be a true replacement: Fairlife.
That’s because Fairlife IS dairy milk, it’s just been filtered through enzymes to remove the lactose. Still milk, still from a cow. That’s not what Impossible is trying to do here and not what the majority of their competition is about.
 

GreenNova343

Posts: 440   +330
So it'll be like their Impossible Burger: it satisfies the vegans because it's not an animal product, but it won't be any healthier for you.
 

Ludak021

Posts: 307   +218
Sounds great. Whatever hurts vegans faster and proves them how evolution has it way, is fine by me.
 

Plutoisaplanet

Posts: 334   +405
That’s because Fairlife IS dairy milk, it’s just been filtered through enzymes to remove the lactose. Still milk, still from a cow. That’s not what Impossible is trying to do here and not what the majority of their competition is about.
I know, that’s what I said. My comment about Fairlife was just an aside.

And actually to create lactose free milk, they don’t run a process. All they do is add the enzyme (lactase) to the product and call it a day. Fairlife goes further by reducing the sugar and increasing the protein levels to give it the same sweetness and consistency as normal milk though.