How can you use your knowledge and experience to make the largest positive impact on the world? For Dr. Pat Brown, AB ’76, PhD ’80, MD ’82, the answer was audacious: Give up the secure world of tenured professorship and start a company, Impossible Foods, to reverse climate change and halt the catastrophic collapse of biodiversity.
Impossible Foods makes delicious, affordable meat and dairy products from plants, and the company’s goal is to replace animals in the food system by 2035. The company’s flagship product, Impossible Burger, is now sold in thousands of restaurants and grocery stores, and Dr. Brown has raised $1.3B to scale toward his goal of transforming the global food system. The company is leaning into a market-based approach to create a global movement toward plant-based food — a unique model for other entrepreneurs trying to make a positive difference for humanity.
On Friday, May 15, EPIC co-hosted an online discussion with Dr. Brown, who was joined in conversation with Sanjog Misra, Charles H. Kellstadt professor of marketing at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. They discussed Dr. Brown’s personal journey from academia to entrepreneurship to worldwide impact on animal food production technology. Other topics included Impossible Food’s current scaling efforts, how its consumers make decisions, and the role it hopes to play in shaping the future of the food system and mitigating climate change. The discussion included an unscripted, live Q&A with students at his alma mater. The event was hosted by the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Dr. Pat Brown, AB ’76, PhD ’80, MD ’82, CEO and Founder, Impossible Foods
Sanjog Misra, Charles H. Kellstadt Professor of Marketing, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business