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How To Sell Fake Meat To Real Meat Lovers

Jordan Schneck explains the intuitive strategy that launched the famous Impossible Burger

Our team did research nationwide, also research from our own guts and our own tuition.

We essentially distilled, what I would say, the three truths of eating food, probably not just here in America. We'll context it relevant to America at the time.

First, we are forever blissfully unaware of the mess we make. We will forever intend to want to be that way. Human beings do not care if they use a plastic bag, drink out of a bottle of water, eat meat. That's because it's really hard to put that information in your mind in any given day, and then assume you're going to do it.

Yes, we know that brands like TOMS have the One for One. That feels nice. When it comes to food, absolutely not. We're going to eat meat because it's good. It's tasty. It's here for me right now.

We knew this. We knew that meant all of these wonderful things that the product did for planet Earth was not going to be the way that we brought this to the world.

We also found out that we live in this new world. This is really interesting for us. A lot of people will ask us, “How did you guys do this thing where you went as an ingredient brand and created a consumer brand?”

That's unfounded in the world of food. Typically, you go straight to retail. You put a bunch of advertising behind it.

When we actually said, “It's interesting because this way that human beings function with this thing called social media and the Internet actually allows people to physically wear the brand with their experiences that they intend…”

It's thinking about an Instagram as the same as your sneaker collection you have. We knew that people would be more willing to share their food experiences than they may be willing to share what was on their feet. That's super true.

For us, we said, “Maybe if we get into the behavior, almost incept the behavior of this world of food photography, we might be able to get around that whole issue of what B2B, B2C means and, in fact, allow people to engage in a more organic way with us.” That was a cool hypothesis.

The third, which is actually really true, Americans will put almost anything in their mouths at least once. Think about it. We've all had Doritos, Cheetos. I bet you everyone in here has had sushi. We've eaten a lot of weird stuff, no matter how we define it as strange or not.

This actually came from some research that we had done in Florida in the panhandle. Publix had started serving sushi to the South. People were like, “Have you tried that sushi?” I'm like, “That is good sushi.” I'm like, “Oh god, it's a Publix in the South. I don't know where the sushi's coming from, but it's cool.”

What we were seeing was that people were getting onto these trends that were once only for the bankers of New York City. We knew that if that was happening and if the right people were telling them to do it, they would ultimately take a bite.

We obviously couldn't do it without the chefs. We knew that entering this market required others to tell our story. Fortunately, the first person that stood up for us was David Chang. David Chang is obviously a beloved…You got that? Was a beloved chef here and is a beloved chef here in New York City.

Then later, we worked with other chefs like Chris Cosentino in San Francisco, the father of the snout‑to‑tail movement, Traci Des Jardins, a very well‑known chef in San Francisco. The whole time we were making this decision, this is not a quantitatively‑driven model.

Filmed at PSFK’s CXI 2018 conference :

Impossible Foods: