Exclusive-Impossible Foods CEO says company will raise cash with or without IPO

By Thomson Reuters Apr 29, 2024 | 2:41 PM

By Jessica DiNapoli

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Impossible Foods, which makes meat alternatives from soy, is targeting a “liquidity event” that could include a public offering in the next two to three years, CEO Peter McGuinness told Reuters on Monday, as alternative meats fight to win back fickle consumers.

McGuinness said the food manufacturer was also considering a sale to another company or a capital raise in the same time period.

“I don’t want to be pigeonholed into an IPO,” he said.

Meat alternatives like Impossible and rival Beyond Meat soared in popularity during the pandemic, winning distribution deals with fast-food chains, including McDonald’s and Yum Brands. Impossible’s patty is in the Impossible Whopper at Burger King.

Impossible had been preparing for a public offering that could have valued it at $10 billion or more in 2021, Reuters reported. The company also raised $500 million in late 2021.

But consumers facing record levels of food inflation have since turned to cheaper options like canned meats. Shares of Beyond Meat have lost nearly all of their value since it went public in 2019.

McGuinness declined to share Impossible’s current valuation.

A 12-ounce (0.34-kg) package of Impossible ground beef costs $6.78 at Walmart, while a pound (0.45 kg) of ground beef is on sale for $5.37.

McGuinness said Impossible Foods is working to expand into more retailers after starting in food service at restaurants and fast-food outlets. The company recently started selling at Whole Foods, and is open to expanding to dollar stores, McGuinness said.

Cash-strapped consumers are more frequently purchasing food at dollar stores like Dollar General and club stores including Costco.

“We have a good club business,” McGuinness said.

He said the company is broadening distribution of its products, notching a 25% gain in January.

Impossible recently revamped its branding, McGuinness said, and has “sharpened its claims” on its nutrition. The product contains no cholesterol.

“We’re not leading with the planet because not enough people care,” he said. “It’s the reality now.”

(Reporting by Jessica DiNapoli in New York; editing by Jonathan Oatis)