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Impossible Burger hits grocery stores on Friday
Can Impossible Foods beat other brands — like Beyond Meat and Tyson — in the war to dominate the alternative meat industry?
- The Impossible Burger will be available in 27 Gelson's Markets stores in Southern California starting Sept. 20.
- Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods sell plant-based burgers in restaurants, but only Beyond Meat sells products in grocery stores.
- Tyson could begin to edge out these smaller companies with its unique meat product that contains plant and animal components, appealing to health-conscious "flexitarians."
Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat have been battling to dominate the alternative meat industry, and now that battle is moving from restaurants to grocery stores.
The Impossible Burger will be available tomorrow in grocery stores for the first time, marking a new chapter in the company's battle against Beyond Meat to dominate the alternative meat industry. Starting September 20, the plant-based burger will be sold at 27 Gelson's Markets stores across Southern California, going for $8.99 per 12-ounce package, fresh or frozen.
But don't plan on stocking up on Impossible Foods' flagship product if you live in California: there's a 10-package-per-shopper limit.
Impossible Foods isn't the first or biggest company to offer plant-based burgers in grocery stores. In June, the rival (and more valuable company) Beyond Meat made its own grocery-store debut when it began offering its popular plant-based burger in stores like Whole Foods, Kroger, Safeway, Publix, Wegmans, Target, and Sprouts. What's more, other brands — like Whole Foods' own 365 Everyday Value label — have also beaten Impossible Foods to the punch.
But the plan to roll out the Impossible Burger to grocery stores has long been in the works, according to Impossible Foods CFO David Lee.
"Even three years ago, before we launched at our first restaurant, we thought about what was the right sequence to eventually reach retail," Lee told Forbes, adding that the company wanted roughly 90 percent of meat-eaters to be aware of the brand before moving to retail.
After Southern California, it's unclear where Impossible Foods will next choose to offer its retail product. But considering the company struggled to meet demand after recently teaming up with Burger King, it's likely that Impossible Foods will choose a measured rollout.
"We are continuing to try to be as available as possible," Lee told Forbes, adding that he predicts "future rapid increase in demand and future short-term scarcity."
Can Tyson beat Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods?
Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are currently the top players in the alternative meat industry, and it'll likely to stay that way in the near future, as the investment research firm CFRA noted:
"We forecast Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods will remain the fastest-growing players in the space over the next couple of years, thanks to demand from quick-service restaurants."
But Tyson, the world's second largest meat processor, could soon begin to dominate the game, not only with its size and deep pockets, but also by exploiting one potential problem with Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods: these two popular plant-based burgers, while good for the environment, probably aren't all that good for you.
Meanwhile, Tyson's new brand Raised & Rooted is making what seem to be relatively healthier meat products that use plant and animal products.
"Its blended beef and plant-based patties specifically target the 'flexitarian' demographic, who are defined as consumers who purchase both meat and meat alternatives," wrote CFRA's Arun Sundaram.
"This patty stands out from competition, not only because it's a blended meat and plant-based burger, but because it seems to be the healthiest option in the marketplace — it has a comparable amount of protein to traditional 80/20 beef burgers and other plant-based burgers, such as those offered by Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, but far less total fat and saturated fat. We think more and more consumers are looking at labels and realizing that many plant-based products are not as healthy as they initially thought, and this is where we think Tyson can stand out."
These alien-like creatures are virtually invisible in the deep sea.
- A team of marine biologists used nets to catch 16 species of deep-sea fish that have evolved the ability to be virtually invisible to prey and predators.
- "Ultra-black" skin seems to be an evolutionary adaptation that helps fish camouflage themselves in the deep sea, which is illuminated by bioluminescent organisms.
- There are likely more, and potentially much darker, ultra-black fish lurking deep in the ocean.
The Pacific blackdragon
Credit: Karen Osborn/Smithsonian<p>When researchers first saw the deep-sea species, it wasn't immediately obvious that their skin was ultra-black. Then, marine biologist Karen Osborn, a co-author on the new paper, noticed something strange about the photos she took of the fish.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"I had tried to take pictures of deep-sea fish before and got nothing but these really horrible pictures, where you can't see any detail," Osborn told <em><a href="https://www.wired.com/story/meet-the-ultra-black-vantafish/" target="_blank">Wired</a></em>. "How is it that I can shine two strobe lights at them and all that light just disappears?"</p><p>After examining samples of fish skin under the microscope, the researchers discovered that the fish skin contains a layer of organelles called melanosomes, which contain melanin, the same pigment that gives color to human skin and hair. This layer of melanosomes absorbs most of the light that hits them.</p>
A crested bigscale
Credit: Karen Osborn/Smithsonian<p style="margin-left: 20px;">"But what isn't absorbed side-scatters into the layer, and it's absorbed by the neighboring pigments that are all packed right up close to it," Osborn told <em>Wired</em>. "And so what they've done is create this super-efficient, very-little-material system where they can basically build a light trap with just the pigment particles and nothing else."</p><p>The result? Strange and terrifying deep-sea species, like the crested bigscale, fangtooth, and Pacific blackdragon, all of which appear in the deep sea as barely more than faint silhouettes.</p>
David Csepp, NMFS/AKFSC/ABL<p>But interestingly, this unique disappearing trick wasn't passed on to these species by a common ancestor. Rather, they each developed it independently. As such, the different species use their ultra-blackness for different purposes. For example, the threadfin dragonfish only has ultra-black skin during its adolescent years, when it's rather defenseless, as <em>Wired</em> <a href="https://www.wired.com/story/meet-the-ultra-black-vantafish/" target="_blank">notes</a>.</p><p>Other fish—like the <a href="http://onebugaday.blogspot.com/2016/06/a-new-anglerfish-oneirodes-amaokai.html" target="_blank">oneirodes species</a>, which use bioluminescent lures to bait prey—probably evolved ultra-black skin to avoid reflecting the light their own bodies produce. Meanwhile, species like <em>C. acclinidens</em> only have ultra-black skin around their gut, possibly to hide light of bioluminescent fish they've eaten.</p><p>Given that these newly described species are just ones that this team found off the coast of California, there are likely many more, and possibly much darker, ultra-black fish swimming in the deep ocean. </p>
Using machine-learning technology, the genealogy company My Heritage enables users to animate static images of their relatives.
- Deep Nostalgia uses machine learning to animate static images.
- The AI can animate images by "looking" at a single facial image, and the animations include movements such as blinking, smiling and head tilting.
- As deepfake technology becomes increasingly sophisticated, some are concerned about how bad actors might abuse the technology to manipulate the pubic.
My Heritage/Deep Nostalgia<p>But that's not to say the animations are perfect. As with most deep-fake technology, there's still an uncanny air to the images, with some of the facial movements appearing slightly unnatural. What's more, Deep Nostalgia is only able to create deepfakes of one person's face from the neck up, so you couldn't use it to animate group photos, or photos of people doing any sort of physical activity.</p>
My Heritage/Deep Nostalgia<p>But for a free deep-fake service, Deep Nostalgia is pretty impressive, especially considering you can use it to create deepfakes of <em>any </em>face, human or not. </p>
How long should one wait until an idea like string theory, seductive as it may be, is deemed unrealistic?
- How far should we defend an idea in the face of contrarian evidence?
- Who decides when it's time to abandon an idea and deem it wrong?
- Science carries within it its seeds from ancient Greece, including certain prejudices of how reality should or shouldn't be.
Plato used the allegory of the cave to explain that what humans see and experience is not the true reality.
Credit: Gothika via Wikimedia Commons CC 4.0<p>When scientists and mathematicians use the term <em>Platonic worldview</em>, that's what they mean in general: The unbound capacity of reason to unlock the secrets of creation, one by one. Einstein, for one, was a believer, preaching the fundamental reasonableness of nature; no weird unexplainable stuff, like a god that plays dice—his tongue-in-cheek critique of the belief that the unpredictability of the quantum world was truly fundamental to nature and not just a shortcoming of our current understanding. Despite his strong belief in such underlying order, Einstein recognized the imperfection of human knowledge: "What I see of Nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly, and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of humility." (Quoted by Dukas and Hoffmann in <em>Albert Einstein, The Human Side: Glimpses from His Archives</em> (1979), 39.)</p> <p>Einstein embodies the tension between these two clashing worldviews, a tension that is still very much with us today: On the one hand, the Platonic ideology that the fundamental stuff of reality is logical and understandable to the human mind, and, on the other, the acknowledgment that our reasoning has limitations, that our tools have limitations and thus that to reach some sort of final or complete understanding of the material world is nothing but an impossible, <a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01K2JTGIA?tag=bigthink00-20&linkCode=ogi&th=1&psc=1" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">semi-religious dream</a>.</p>