Food delivery giant Home Chef that has gone retail through its merger with Kroger and now offers its customers the option to swap animal proteins for plant-based in their meal kits. This customization lets people choose plant-based products from Impossible Burger.
More specifically, Home Chef will offer the opportunity to substitute Impossible Burger for beef and other meat in some selected recipes each week, using a feature called "Customize It". Customers will get a 12-ounce package of ground plant-based meat.
What Is Impossible Burger?
Impossible Burger is the flagship product of the company Impossible Foods. It is made to cook and taste like ground beef. The California-based company claims the product can replace ground beef from cows in any recipe.
According to a home usage study conducted for Impossible Foods, 70% of consumers who cooked with Impossible Burger thought the taste was comparable to or exceeded that of ground beef from cows, and 77% thought it sizzled like ground beef from cows. A 4-ounce serving of Impossible Burger contains 19 grams of protein, 0 mg of cholesterol, 14 grams of total fat, 8 grams of saturated fat. It has high levels of iron and is free from antibiotics and animal hormones.
Sample Meals with Impossible Burger
Examples of meals where clients can select the Impossible Burger include basil pesto ground beef lettuce wraps with red peppers, cheese tortellini with spicy pork ragout and parmesan 15-minute meal, mushroom and Swiss beef cavatappi with bacon and green onions 15-minute meal, chipotle BBQ cheddar turkey meatballs, French onion-crusted beef meatloaf with peas and peppers oven-ready meal,
Hawaiian turkey burger with sriracha-roasted sweet potatoes, pork tacos and chili lime slaw oven-ready meal, stroganoff pork meatballs with potatoes and peas oven-ready meal, and Vietnamese pork meatballs in butter lettuce cups.
Home Chef Food Philosophy
Home Chef is one of the big players in the meal kit delivery industry in the US. The company is on a mission to make people rediscover the joy of cooking and unleash their inner home chef. Their food philosophy is centered around simple, easy-to-follow recipes that bring families together over a home-cooked meal. Each month, they deliver over 3.5 million meal kits nationwide.
Comments on the Merger
The owner and CEO Pat Vihtelic comments on the new product: "Variety and innovation have always been key parts of Home Chef. With the launch of Impossible [Burger], we are providing our customers more ways to enjoy our weekly recipes and be on the forefront of the trend towards eating more plant-based foods.
“We’ve long intended to make the Impossible Burger available anywhere that food is sold, including through meal kits,” commented Dan Greene, senior vice president of US sales at Impossible Foods. “We’re thrilled to share that the Impossible Burger is now on the Home Chef menu, so that cooks everywhere can conveniently try out new recipes with our delicious meat made from plants.”
Impossible Foods is one of the winners in the pandemic. The company has increased sales in grocery stores by more than thirty times since the pandemic began. By the end of 2020, they plan to have increased their retail availability by a factor of fifty.
As of March, the Impossible Burger was sold in 150 grocery stores but has currently reached the shelves of more than 5,000 grocery stores in 48 continental US states. This includes major supermarket players such as Kroger, Albertsons, Fred Meyer, Gelson’s Market, Safeway, Vons, and Wegmans.
And plant-based is on the rise: in 2019, the industry totaled $5 billion in the US, which is an increase of 11.4% since 2018, according to the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) and The Good Food Institute. Within the sector, plant-based meat was one of the fastest-growing segments, reaching sales of $939 million. This marks 18.4% more than in 2018. Recent research reveals that plant-based meats, in particular, are expected to reach $3 billion by 2024. 
The majority of clients opting for green menu options aren't even vegetarians or vegans: 95% of those who ordered plant-based meats at US restaurants were meat-eaters. 
And the product placement in the grocery store makes a difference: according to PBFA and Kroger, a pilot program showed that sales of plant-based meat rose 23% when those products were merchandised next to conventional meats, as an invitation to have people reconsider their habits.
Meal Delivery Services and Plant-Based Meats
Home Chef competitors Blue Apron and HelloFresh began offering plant-based products from Impossible Foods rival Beyond Meat in 2019, seeing their shares surge. Fresh n Lean, the nation's largest organic meal delivery service offering heat-and-eat meals requiring little to no preparation, joined the train the same year.
It thus seems like the future for both pre-portioned, ready meals and meal kit delivery companies looks green.