Impossible Foods Is Expanding Into Schools In A Big Way

Even if your parents packed your lunch every day as a kid, there were probably certain days when you were jealous of the kids who ate the school lunches. Pizza day and breadsticks day usually made the top of the list, depending on your school. Looking back on it, though, those lunches may have had some significant drawbacks. Especially breadsticks day, which in recent years has upset some parents who were concerned about the nutritional value of their children's lunch. 

That being said, it's likely no surprise that in 2020, only one out of five schools in the U.S. met the USDA standards for fat content in school lunches (via Harris School Solutions). This may be because many school lunch menus revolve around fried foods and meat-heavy dishes.

Even though french fries, one of the most popular items on school lunch menus, are technically considered a vegetable, 90% of students do not eat enough fruits and vegetables on a daily basis (via Harris School Solutions). In order to provide healthier options for future generations, schools across the country are beginning to incorporate plant-based meat alternatives, such as those made by Impossible Foods, in cafeterias (via VegNews).

Impossible Foods' new items are designed for school lunches

In 2021, Impossible Foods was approved by the USDA's Food and Nutrition Services to receive Child Nutrition Labels, allowing the company to serve plant-based products in schools, per Business Wire. Fast-forward to July 5, and California invested $700 million in plant-based school meals (via VegNews). "Not only do these foods help students stay focused and energized in the classroom today, but they also reduce long-term risk for heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, obesity, and other chronic diseases," said Neal Barnard, President of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

"We created these new products so students won't have to give up their lunchtime favorites in order to have well-balanced, plant-based meals at school," Laura Kliman, Impossible Foods' director of new product development, said in a statement. "Nutritious food is critical to child development, but it doesn't have to come at the expense of tasting good or the future of our planet."

To incorporate plant-based meals into school lunches, Impossible Foods is introducing the fully-cooked Impossible Burger Patty Made from Plants and the Impossible Chicken Nuggets Made from Plants, per a press release shared with Mashed). (The company also notes that whether or not the plant-based meals will be labeled with Impossible Foods branding is up to the schools.) Schools across the country have already shown interest in incorporating Impossible products into their menus, with almost 500 schools already using it and some of the largest school districts in the country showing interest.