Impossible Foods seeks European approval of its plant-based burgers

Impossible Foods filed an application in the European Union that hints it is looking to make inroads in that market and expand outside the U.S. and Asia.

The maker of plant-based burgers, known for its Impossible Burger, filed a request to gain authorization for the use of soy leghemoglobin in the EU, according to public documents obtained by CNBC from the European Food Safety Authority. Soy leghemoglobin, produced from genetically modified yeast and also referred to as heme, is what Impossible Foods uses to make its fake meat actually taste like meat. The application was filed on Sept. 30 with the Netherlands.

The EU has a comprehensive and strict legal regime on genetically modified food, organisms and feed, according to the Law Library of Congress, which means that approval, if granted, would likely take some time.

Impossible Burger received Food and Drug Administration approval to use heme as a color additive in the U.S. in July, clearing the way for the product to be sold in grocery stores.

The market for plant-based meat is getting more crowded as companies look to get an edge over their competitors. Beyond Meat announced in May that it would start making its plant-based meats in Europe next year.

Impossible Foods told CNBC in July that Asia, which consumes nearly half the world’s meat, was the company’s No. 1 focus. It made its first foray into Asia via Hong Kong about 18 months after launching worldwide.

Bloomberg first reported this story on Wednesday. Impossible Foods did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for confirmation.

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