While Beyond Meat (NASDAQ:BYND) has been making big gains lately, including a 29% stock market rise in May and a June rollout of its plant-based burgers in China, rival Impossible Foods is taking steps to catch up. Among these is its recent introduction of direct-to-customer sales of its various plant-based "Impossible meats."

With textured pea and potato proteins offering closer (and tastier) analogs to actual meat than the soy patties of yore, and healthier eating all the rage nowadays, the race is on among companies to secure a place in the growing plant-based meat market. Research by Global Market Insights, Inc. predicts the market will explode to $4.15 billion in sales annually by 2026, with some areas of the U.S. potentially witnessing a 26% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) in demand over the same period.

An array of Impossible burgers and fries

Image source: Impossible Foods.

Impossible Foods just started selling its Impossible products on its website for shipment to consumers' homes. Delivery is free and uses two-day shipping to ensure freshness of the products on arrival. The food is double-boxed, with the inner box cooled by a bag of dry ice. The packaging is also mostly recyclable or biodegradable, with the exception of the dry ice bag.

In order to make the sales cost effective, Impossible Foods is offering these website sales in what might be called bulk quantities. The smallest item is a "convenience pack" featuring four 12-ounce packages of Impossible Burger at $50, while the highest end is a $70 "grilling pack" of 20 quarter-pound patties. Thus far, only Impossible Beef products are available; Impossible Pork is not yet sold direct-to-customer.

Impossible's products will also be sold in approximately 7,500 supermarkets by 2020's end.