America's largest supermarket chain and second-largest retailer, Kroger (NYSE:KR), started offering Impossible Foods' vegan burgers today at 1,700 of its locations. The Impossible Burger and other products, 100% plant-based and featuring both soy and potato protein, were already sold at approximately 2,700 grocery stores prior to today's Kroger launch, according to Reuters. The new alliance will bring Impossible's retail presence up to a beefy total of approximately 4,400 outlets.
Kroger is offering the new plant-based meats for sale for both delivery and curbside pickup, as customers try to reduce contact in order to avoid the coronavirus pandemic. Getting its various foods onto Kroger's shelves represents an "18-fold increase" in its 2020 retail space gains, according to a company statement. This brings it approximately 40% closer toward realizing its goal of a "50-fold" footprint increase this year.
The move comes as consumers and investors show greater interest in plant-based meat alternatives as the COVID-19 coronavirus threatens the country's meat supply. Some research indicates that weekly demand for products made by Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods skyrocketed 200% year over year in April 2020, compared to still robust but much smaller 30% gains for conventional meat products during the same period.
Challenging prominent plant-based meat manufacturer Beyond Meat, which has seen a notable stock market rebound in April, Impossible Foods has not yet launched its own stock market IPO. However, as Impossible CEO Dennis Woodside remarks, "The launch of Impossible Burger at Kroger grocery stores nationwide signals our intention to make Impossible Burger available everywhere America shops -- at brick-and-mortar retailers and their increasingly popular online ordering and delivery services."