Impossible Burgers will find their way into the school menu in the United States. The meatless burger just got the USDA’s child nutrition label, which could make it easier for public schools to serve the product as the Impossible Burgers are eligible for a national school lunch. Impossible Foods hopes to offer high protein lunches that don’t generate as much greenhouse gas emissions as red meat. However, the slping branding of foods served to children can still be harmful, even though the meals may be better for the environment.
“Basically, we believe schools should be commercially free,” said Marlene Schwartz, director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut. “Businesses should really shut out their branding.”
Adults can have loyalties to brands they are exposed to as children. research has shown. It is not good for your health if you develop a taste for junk food. This is why advocates in schools have pushed for more nutritious options, including plant-based foods. Impossible Burgers are plant-based and have been given the green light by the Food and Drug Administration to be sold in grocery stores (despite concerns from some activists over the key genetically modified ingredient, heme, which the company says its burgers “taste like meat”) ).
The problem Schwartz sees with moving Impossible Foods to school has more to do with the branding than the product. (She can’t comment on whether Impossible Burgers are better or worse than other foods.) If schools want to serve meals with less meat and a lower carbon footprint, they should serve the meatless patties without the Impossible trademark, she says.
“If you allow a huge company to use this mindset to get their brand out in front of kids, it is, first and foremost, completely at odds with the purpose of schools, and I just think it’s totally unfair,” says Schwartz. “There’s something sacred about the school environment: it should be a place where students aren’t pressured to buy certain products.”
Schools in Palo Alto, California; Aberdeen, Washington; Edmond, Oklahoma; and Union City, Oklahoma, will begin pilot programs for Impossible Burgers this month. The product doesn’t just turn into a bun either. There will be “Impossible ™ Street Tacos”, “Impossible ™ Frito Pie” and “Spaghetti with Impossible ™ Meat Sauce”.
Impossible Foods looks set to take more schools by storm soon. “Making Impossible ™ products available wherever people consume meat, which for children often includes schools, is key to the company’s mission,” said Pat Brown, CEO and founder of Impossible Foods, in one statement.