USA – American alternative meat company Impossible Foods has named outgoing Chobani President and COO Peter McGuinness as its new chief executive officer.
McGuinness succeeds Pat Brown, who founded Impossible Foods a decade ago and transformed the company into a plant-based meat giant.
Brown will continue his role as director and become Impossible Foods’ chief visionary officer, responsible for research and technology innovation, strategic initiatives and public advocacy.
In choosing McGuinness, Brown cited his ability to push Chobani into new categories, and said he will help Impossible continue to expand and evolve its brand and business.
The change in leadership comes after a busy 2021 for the plant-based meat pioneer, filled with product introductions, an international expansion and a US$500 million fundraising round.
In the past two years, the reach and breadth of Impossible Foods’ products has also grown exponentially.
As the pandemic started shutting down restaurants’ dining rooms — where Impossible Foods made its name and did the bulk of its business — the company kicked into overdrive and made a huge retail expansion.
In 2020 alone, Impossible Foods went from having products in 150 stores in January to more than 11,000 stores in December.
In 2021, Impossible added several new products including impossible Sausage, Impossible Chicken Nuggets, Impossible Pork hit foodservice and Impossible Meatballs.
The company has also mentioned it is working on areas including steak and seafood, and it set off on a 2020 drive to double its R&D team to bring more scientists of all disciplines aboard.
As the company reaches an inflection point and begins to reach a larger commercial audience, it needs a proven business leader in the food business to bring it through the next set of challenges.
In McGuinness, Impossible will now have a CEO who not only has deep experience in the food business, but who also has taken a niche brand and expanded it into many other areas of the grocery store.
Chobani began in 2005 as a startup that brought Greek yogurt to the world and is now a titan with net sales of more than $1.4 billion in FY 2020, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The company has also expanded to a plethora of categories, including plant-based yogurts, coffee, peanut butter and milk.
Coming off of his success at Chobani, McGuinness is primed for this new role. His perspective and experience can help Impossible further diversify its offerings and find success.
With the CEO duties off his table, Brown will be doing many of the things he is best known for at Impossible: leading innovation, strategic initiatives, public advocacy and the company’s mission.
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