Athleta CEO joins Impossible Foods board as it expands retail

Plant-based meat maker is available in Walmart, Publix, Kroger and more

Plant-based meat company Impossible Foods has tapped the CEO of Gap-owned Athleta to join its board of directors as it continues to increase its global retail footprint.

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Athleta and Impossible Foods (Getty/AP) 

Retail veteran Mary Beth Laughton is joining the Redwood City, Calif.-based startup’s board, the company announced Wednesday. Laughton was at Sephora US before spending nearly a decade working on strategy, merchandising and e-commerce at Nike.

Laughton’s appointment comes at a time when Impossible Foods continues to aggressively expand its retail presence in more than 9,000 stores across the country -- more than 60 times the increase of Impossible Foods’ retail footprint since March 2020, the company said.

WHAT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOODS?

Impossible Foods, which creates foods that mimic the look, taste and texture of real meat, launched its direct-to-consumer e-commerce platform in June amid ongoing meat shortages as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. And its popular Impossible Burger is available in stores at Walmart Supercenter, Kroger, Albertsons, Publix, Trader Joes, Wegmans and others, including at fast-food restaurants like Burger King.

IMPOSSIBLE FOODS SELLING DIRECT-TO-CONSUMER ALTERNATIVE MEAT  

Before Gap appointed Laughton as CEO of Athleta in 2019, Laughton led both the e-commerce and store channels at Sephora U.S., helping the company quintuple its online business.

"Few companies are pursuing as bold and ambitious of a vision as Impossible Foods,” Laughton said in a statement. “Like Athleta, the team at Impossible Foods is passionate about both innovation as well as creating a sustainable future. I'm thrilled to be part of an organization dedicated to combining profit and planet, and I look forward to helping them extend their impact even further."

KROGER FINDS PLANT-BASED MEAT SELLS BETTER NEXT TO REAL MEAT 

Laughton joins other retail veterans on Impossible Foods' board including Glossier Chief Financial Officer Vanessa Wittman.

"We are eager to tap into her experience and insights in retail, marketing and e-commerce which will help us build awareness, trial and the Impossible Food brand," Impossible Foods CEO Pat Brown said in a statement.

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