Internet giant Google has tried to buy its way into the foodservice market by bidding for a vegetarian burger business called Impossible Foods, it has been reported.
The US technology outfit is said to have offered between $200m and $300m (£128m and £192m) for the company, which claims to be developing a new generation of meats and cheeses made entirely from plants.
The proposed deal was reported by technology site The Information, which said the bid was rejected as being too low, according to sources familiar with the situation.
On its homepage, Impossible Foods says that its mission is to give people the great taste and nutritional benefits of foods that come from animals without the negative health and environmental impact.
It states: “We looked at animal products at the molecular level, then selected specific proteins and nutrients from greens, seeds, and grains to recreate the wonderfully complex experience of meats and dairy products. For thousands of years we’ve relied on animals as our technology to transform plants into meat, milk, and eggs. Impossible Foods has found a better way.”
Google hasn’t commented on the story so it remains unclear why it would want to buy a foodservice business, however it is constantly investing in what it calls its Google X programme — projects aimed at developing science fiction-sounding solutions.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates is already understood to have backed Impossible Foods, along with Google executive Tony Fadell who helped it raise funds.
Impossible Foods was founded by Patrick Brown, a Stanford University biologist and physician, whose theory is that people won’t give up the foods they love until new choices are more delicious and satisfying.
The team consists of 50 scientists, chefs, farmers, and engineers that are driven to make the best meats and cheeses available from plants.