At Impossible, he and his R&D staff began their study of beef development at the molecular level, mapping the 4,000 proteins, fats, and other biological compounds that add up to a cow. Next, they put together a catalog of all commercially available plant-based ingredients, such as protein isolates from soy, peas, hemp, and potatoes. From there, Brown's group created their simulacrum, matching plant compounds to the bovine ones, testing their concoctions for flavor, smell, and texture--occasionally by nibbling on them, but usually via sophisticated gear that could gnash meat samples and spit out chewiness data in charts.
Brown's development process was painstaking and expensive. Impossible raised more money each year than the year before--$3 million in 2011, $6.2 million in 2012, $27 million in 2013, $40 million in 2014, $108 million in 2015--and poured it almost entirely into R&D. "The staff was 95 percent scientists" as late as the fall of 2015, says Dana Worth, a graduate of Stanford's business school who joined Impossible that year, when it started hiring actual business people.
Frustrated employees, writing reviews on Glassdoor that month, described a company with its wheels coming off. "The organization is eating itself alive. The arrogance is overwhelming," wrote one. "It's a great mission with some of the worst management in the bay area," wrote another. "The CEO has good intentions (and is a true scientific genius), but is a terrible business leader," posted still another.
On April 22, Brown sent a companywide email, explaining that surging demand, along with the new Burger King rollout, was putting the company in existential peril: "We will need to increase production at least sixfold over the next several months and 10-fold by the end of 2020. (Yes, you read that correctly)," he wrote. He asked for volunteers to come to Oakland to staff a second assembly line. The work would be hard, he added, "but an epic opportunity for heroism, with huge stakes." Forty employees (who got overtime pay) headed up to the refrigerated facility. There, a motley crew of scientists, salespeople, and IT staff took turns working 12-hour shifts, stacking patties and operating machinery. Person by person, the R&D lab was transformed into a manufacturer.
Unified by the stress and the cold, the staff put together a plan they called Back to Redwood City, with the aim of getting scientists home to R&D. By August, the partnership with OSI was up and running, just in time to supply all of those Burger King outlets for the fastest launch in the chain's history.
原则主?#25243;?#33394;血红素一无所知消费者应该麻烦 - 它已经，被批?#21152;?#20110;经FDA使用 - 并且术语 处理 is an almost meaningless buzzword. "Virtually every food that you love is 处理 to a similar degree as the Impossible Burger in the sense that a bunch of ingredients are carefully chosen and fermented, cooked, or blended to make something that's delicious," he says. "It's useless--like food racism or something--to just slap some stupid, broad label that mischaracterizes our products in this way."
Brown would rather focus on what he does best: rallying the troops toward his planet-saving vision and running his highly pedigreed R&D lab. He says he expects to double production every year, which would help him with his goal of achieving cost parity with traditional beef by 2022. That's no mean feat, given that the price per pound of textured soy protein--Impossible's primary ingredient but not its most expensive one--is about the same as the wholesale price of ground beef. "All the economics of everything we're doing get progressively better with scale," he says.
And size matters. Though he generally avoids speaking ill of his plant-based competitors--they're all working to tip Big Cow on its ear--sometimes he can't help himself. He scoffs at Beyond Meat's research budget, which was a mere $9.6 million in 2018--not even the same order of magnitude as his company's. "The goal here is we have to completely replace animals as a technology in the food system," Brown says. "That is a huge task."