Impossible Foods Puts Employees on the Chopping Block, Prepares to Fire 20% of Staff
Impossible Foods, the California-based company focused on making plant-based meats, is allegedly preparing to axe 20% of its staff, as demand for its products subsides.
According to people familiar with internal discussions, Impossible Foods is proverbially trimming some more fat, this time eliminating around 140 people from its 700-employee head-count. In a document seen by Bloomberg, the plant-based meat alternative maker offered its workers voluntary separation packages and benefits at the end of 2022. The latest layoffs follow a 6% employee reduction in October in an effort to downsize on redundant roles.
Impossible Foods’ products have made a rapid expansion across numerous grocery stores and restaurants; however, demand doesn’t appear to be following suit. In a recent interview with Time Magazine, CEO Peter McGuinness professed it has been a challenge to market the company’s plant-based meat, as the placement of the product at supermarkets can make it difficult for new customers to find. Some stores opt to place plant-based meats next to the animal meat section, whilst others stock them in the vegetarian section.
“In preparation for this interview, my wife and I went out to our local supermarket but had a hard time finding the product,” said Time Executive Editor John Simons. “Turns out it had its own refrigeration case at the back of the store.” Whether its due to lack of product awareness or the impact of food inflation on consumers’ shopping habits, sales of refrigerated plant-based meat products are dropping rapidly. According to statistics compiled by research firm IRI and cited by Bloomberg, sales volumes of meat alternatives have fallen 15% for the 12 months ending on January 1.
Likewise, orders of plant-based burgers at major restaurant chains such as Burger King, White Castle, and Qdoba have fallen 9% in the 12-month period ending in November, data from NPD Group shows. The drop in sales could be attested to receding consumer interest for plant-based products; a survey conducted by consumer-experience strategy from HundredX found that the proportion of shoppers who have tried Impossible Foods products but are less likely to eat them again has increased substantially from last year.
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