REDWOOD CITY, CALIF. – Impossible Foods cleared a major obstacle to entering the K-12 segment when the company achieved Child Nutrition Labels (CN Labels) for its Impossible Burger products. Child Nutrition labels provide food manufacturers the option to include a standardized food crediting statement on their product label. To use the label, manufacturers must have quality control procedures and inspection oversight that meet US Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) requirements.

Impossible Foods said FNS determined that the company’s Impossible Burger products met the quality control program requirements and approved Impossible Foods’ CN labels in the Alternate Protein category in April.

Impossible Foods is launching K-12 pilot programs in May with school districts across the United States, including Palo Alto Unified School District, Palo Alto, Calif.; Aberdeen School District, Aberdeen, Wash.; Deer Creek Public Schools, Edmond, Okla.; and Union City Public Schools, Union City, Okla.

“Making Impossible products available everywhere people consume meat, which for kids often includes schools, is key to the mission of the company,” said Pat Brown, MD, PhD, chief executive officer and founder of Impossible Foods. “Schools not only play a role in shaping children’s dietary patterns, they play an important role in providing early education about climate change and its root causes. We are thrilled to be partnering with K-12 school districts across the country to lower barriers to access our plant-based meat for this change-making generation.”

Impossible Burger patties and 5-lb bulk Impossible Burger bearing the CN label are available through foodservice broad-line distributors nationally, the company said, making it possible for school districts to add the Impossible Burger to their menus now, for summer programs and for the 2021-2022 school year. Participating schools are offering child-friendly menu items such as Impossible Street Tacos, “Impossible Frito Pie” and Spaghetti with Impossible Meat Sauce.

“Early pilot results show a strong response and engagement from both students and teachers,” said Alicia Henderson, superintendent of the Aberdeen School District which served burgers and Impossible Meat Sauce on spaghetti to middle and high school students as part of a pilot program. “We are excited to be one of the first districts in the country to offer students this product as an alternative to beef.”

Michael Morris, senior manager, Culinary Offer Implementation, Sodexo, said increasing plant-based menu options is a key part of Sodexo’s strategy to reduce carbon emissions by 34% by 2025.

“The Impossible Burger is a product we think teenagers are going to get excited about,” Morris said. “We are interested in how the popularity of this low-carbon food can help effectively lower a whole district’s carbon footprint, while also getting students more engaged in thinking about their connection to the planet.”