Coming soon to a 3D printer near you: Plant-based steaks

Plant-based steak made with 3D printer, photo: Reuters
Plant-based steak made with 3D printer, photo: Reuters

Israeli start-up Redefine Meat plans to launch 3D printers to produce plant-based steaks mimicking real beef next year.

The alternative meat market is growing fast. Meat substitutes are increasingly popular with consumers concerned about animal welfare and the environment. Alternative meat sales could reach $140 billion by 2029, about 10% of the world’s meat market.

Redefine Meat, based in Rehovot, south of Tel Aviv, will first market their Alt-Steak at high-end restaurants before rolling out its industrial-scale 3D printers to meat distributors in 2021.

“You need a 3D printer to mimic the structure of the muscle of the animal,” CEO Eshchar Ben-Shitrit said. The machines will be able to print 20kg an hour and eventually hundreds, at a lower cost than real meat.

Founded in 2018, the company raised $6 million last year in a round led by CPT Capital, an investor in Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods. Hanaco Venture Capital and German poultry group PHW also invested.

Redefine Meat versus Novameat
“The market is definitely waiting for a breakthrough in terms of improving the texture,” said Stacy Pyett, who manages the Proteins for Life program at Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands.

She said 3D printing is one technology competing to improve alternative meat texture, but “having new technologies doesn’t necessarily solve the flavor and taste problem”.

Spanish competitor Novameat is also working on 3D-printed plant meat, including a whole-muscle pork cut developed during the coronavirus crisis. “Our technology will be available in selected top restaurants in Europe this year, before we focus on scaling it up during 2021,” CEO Giuseppe Scionti said.

source: Reuters

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