Impossible Burger gets key USDA label that'll bring it to school cafeterias

Impossible Foods has announced that it now has a Child Nutrition Label from the USDA for its Impossible Burger product. According to the company, the Child Nutrition Label is a key aspect of bringing its plant-based meat alternative to the K-12 market, namely school cafeterias. Multiple school districts are on board to launch a pilot program with Impossible Foods.

The USDA-authorized Child Nutrition Labels are 'voluntary food crediting statements' that essentially mean the food product meets certain quality control requirements. The USDA's Food and Nutrition Services analyze the food product's specific formulation to figure out the degree to which it contributes to federal meal pattern requirements.

This label then helps schools incorporate the food into the general child nutrition programs such as the School Breakfast Program. Now that the labels have been authorized, school districts will be able to more easily implement the Impossible Burger into their meal plans — and multiple districts are planning to kick off their pilot programs with the company later this month.

Those include districts in Palo Alto, Edmond and Union City, Oklahoma, and Aberdeen, Washington. Impossible Foods says its plant-based burger product will be put on the school menus in meals like Impossible Street Tacos, spaghetti with Impossible Meat Sauce, and Impossible Frito Pie. Kids who get these meals will be surveyed about their thoughts on the new option.

Plant-based meat alternatives have become increasingly popular, with consumers citing everything from health to environmental concerns as their reason for adopting these relatively new products. Some critics have expressed concerns about Impossible bringing its branding into schools, however, and have speculated about whether the push is more motivated by exposing youth to the brand rather than encouraging the adoption of plant-based meat alternatives.