‘The category has done a lousy job of explaining itself,’ says CEO

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It’s frustrating that the category is kind of getting a bad rap, but some of the other players have their own issues that are not applicable to us,” ​said McGuinness, who was speaking to FoodNavigator-USA after unveiling new wording on Impossible Foods’ core 12oz beef brick and announcing formulation changes to slash saturated fat by 25% (see box below).

“I’ve said it before, but it’s a competition issue, not a category issue. We’re growing at 65% year-on-year in ​[measured] retail ​[channels] according to the latest IRI data,* and it’s not just coming from distribution,” ​said McGuinness, who took the helm in April. “It’s a combination of new doors, new SKUs, and velocity gains, so we feel very good.

“We have a repeat rate of around 45%, so every two people I get to try our products, one in two repeat. So that says awareness and trial is a gift that keeps on giving, as we only have 5% household penetration.​”

Shake out to come? ‘When buyers look at productivity on shelf, the math is in our favor’

In the short term, he said, there’s likely to be a shakeout at retail as buyers take out poor performers and me-too products: “Space isn’t increasing, soto get distribution, something has to come out. So they look at productivity on shelf, and here the math is in our favor.

“As you see in a lot of categories, there has been a proliferation of brands and SKUs and a lot of duplication, so buyers are going to look at the math and make an informed decision on what stays, what’s get double faced, what gets triple faced, and what goes. And so we invite that math exercise.”

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