About a year ago, Lightlife President Dan Curtin challenged his team to make the cleanest plant-based burger they could create, using as few ingredients as possible, and ensuring they would be recognizable by consumers who flip over the package to see what’s inside.
After launching the new version of the Lightlife Burger — which is made with 11 ingredients known to consumers — Curtin is making the same challenge to competitors in the plant-based meat space. An open letter to Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat signed by Curtin is running as an advertisement in major newspapers such as the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
“Enough with the hyper-processed ingredients, GMOs, unnecessary additives and fillers, and fake blood,” the letter reads. “While we want the same things — a greener planet and a more sustainable food system — at Lightlife, we’ve chosen a very different way to get there. We’re making a clean break from both of you ‘food tech’ companies that attempt to mimic meat at any cost.”
[Editor’s note: to learn more, read Viewpoint: The Impossible Burger has sparked an ideological rift between anti-GMO critics.]
Curtin was not sure how Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods would react to the campaign. In the past, when outside organizations have attacked plant-based meat companies for not-so-clean-label products, Impossible Foods was quick to provide a snarky response. However, those critics were outside the industry, not part of it.