Impossible Foods Is About To Lay Off 20% Of Its Workforce. Here's What We Know

In the last few years, it seemed that plant-based meats were having their heyday with sales growing each year (via Plant Based Foods Association). Not only were more companies emerging, even major meat producers got into the production of plant-based meat (via The New York Times).

One of the most well-known players in the plant-based meat game, Impossible Foods, has been at the forefront of using technology to produce alternatives to beef, sausage, chicken, pork, and even full meals using those products. Their burgers, touted as being remarkably similar to beef, became available at sit-down restaurants as well as fast food spots like Burger King and White Castle, and eventually made their way to grocery store shelves. Their meatballs became available at a Disney theme park and the veggie burger even wowed David Chang.

However, in October of 2022, the major alternative-meat producer laid off 6% of its workforce, then later in the year offered payment and benefits to workers willing to voluntarily leave the company (via Bloomberg). Now, the company is reportedly prepared to lay off 20% of its approximately 700 workers.

Why is Impossible Foods laying off workers?

TechCrunch reports that Impossible Foods showed growth in 2022 and that same year, the company's CEO Peter McGuiness confirmed that in an interview with Bloomberg. However, FOODDIVE reports that the layoffs in October were due to reorganization, something that the publication cites as becoming more prevalent among plant-based meat producers like Planterra, Beyond Meat, and Maple Leaf Foods, who have laid off employees as well since the seeming plateau of plant-based meat sales (via Deloitte).

The leveling off of sales of plant-based alternatives in the United States has been blamed on a variety of issues from supply chain problems and inflation, to a changed perception of the health benefits of eating plant-based meat. However, it also appeared to fail to gain traction during test runs or short-lived offerings at fast food chains like McDonald's, Taco Bell, KFC, Chipotle, and Dunkin' (via Insider).

It's not yet clear if the newest potential round of layoffs at Impossible Foods was spurred by the overall stagnation within the industry or if it is part of McGuinness' continued plan to reorganize the company.