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Impossible Foods’ mission to bring veganism to the meat-eating masses has received a boost after the plant-based meat company raised $300m in its latest funding round — increasing its value by two-thirds to $2bn in the past month alone. The latest cash injection, led by Temasek of Singapore and Li Ka-shing’s Horizons Ventures, takes the total raised by Impossible to more than $750m, and follows the runaway success of rival Beyond Meat’s initial public offering this month. Appetite for plant-based meat substitutes has prompted a rapid rise in Beyond Meat’s share price. Listed at $25, the stock has nearly trebled since listing two weeks ago, giving the company a market capitalisation of about $4bn. Impossible’s fundraising comes after it announced a tie-up with Burger King in the US. The fast-food chain is rolling out the “Impossible Whopper” to more than 7,000 restaurants, doubling Impossible’s US footprint. José Cil, chief executive of Restaurant Brands, Burger King’s owner, recently said the Impossible Whopper was attracting new customers, rather than consumers swapping from the original Whopper. He added that the group was targeting an international roll-out before the end of the year. Demand for Impossible’s plant-based burgers has led to shortages at some restaurants. David Lee, chief financial officer, said the capital raised would be used to increase production capacity. “We are challenged with unprecedented increase in demand. We’re doing everything to increase our supply,” he said.
Impossible was founded in 2011 by Pat Brown, a Stanford University biochemistry professor. It has said it wants to eliminate the need for animals in the food chain by 2035. The company is adding a second production line at its plant in California. Since launching in Singapore in March, sales have trebled in Asia, with “meat” used in dishes such as dumplings. Both Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat have produced plant-based meat substitutes based on molecular science, with cells created to mimic those of animal protein using plant nutrients. The two companies are offering burgers they say have the same taste and texture as beef. The burgers “bleed”, with Impossible using “heme” — a protein created by its scientists through genetic engineering and yeast fermentation — and Beyond Meat using beetroot juice.