ISRAELI STARTUP REDEFINE MEAT RACES TO LAUNCH 3-D PRINTED STEAK
Sep. 8, 2020
Business Insider reports:
Redefine Meat isn't focusing on alternatives to ground beef or sausages, but whole-cut steaks - an area of the market that has yet to hit the mainstream.
"There is an amazing industry of alternative meat that is focused on minced meat. And actually the meat industry is driven by the whole-muscle cuts," CEO Eshchar Ben-Shitrit told Reuters. "Steaks, roast, slow cooking, grilling - everything that an animal can do we want to do the same or even better."
Ben-Shitrit is focused on creating industrial-level 3D printers that would ultimately be sold to meat distributors around the globe and become part of the meat supply chain.
"The idea is to replace a cow. So each of our machines produce in a day exactly like a cow, up to 250 [kilograms] in a single day," he said.
Faux meat is believed to be significantly better for the environment, requiring less water and energy and releasing fewer fossil fuels than livestock - the CEO calls it "the best way to fight climate change, to deliver healthier solutions and food to the entire population of the planet."
At this stage in development, Redefine Meat is not disclosing how much the printers will cost. The plan is to keep the price of its 3D-printed steaks comparable to traditional ones, which can range from $5 to $12 per pound.
The company hopes to debut the steaks at high-end restaurants in Israel, Switzerland, and Germany by the end of 2020.
But it will be awhile before the printers are part of the meat industrial complex. The machines produce only up to 13 pounds of meat an hour, and next year, the company plans to release a new generation of machines that will print 44 pounds an hour.
By comparison, American slaughterhouses can collectively process over 100,000 cows a day, each of which yields hundreds of pounds of beef.
In the meat industry, profit margins are greatest on whole-animal cuts like steaks. The key to those profits is creating a product with the same taste and texture as traditional meat, Redefine Meat food engineer Alexey Tomsov said.
"We analyzed the different components that make those beautiful cuts and ... we identified three main components - the muscle, the blood, and the fat," he said. "These are the components that we need to mimic in order to reach the perfect beautiful steak."
Redefine Meat's recipe contains soy and pea proteins, coconut fat, and sunflower oil, among other ingredients. Though the full list is secret, the company says all ingredients are plant-based and vegan.
The company has some competition. Israel is a hot spot for alternative-meat companies developing both lab-grown and 3D-printed food. In Spain, the startup Novameat is also working on 3D-printed steaks and recently developed a whole-muscle version of pork. Big companies including Tesco and Unilever are developing plant-based meats too.
Venture-capital money is pouring in, and the global faux-meat market is projected to reach a value of $8.1 billion by 2026, according to Allied Market Research.
They're all racing to convince consumers that a lab-grown product can taste as good as the real thing.
"At the end of the day, technology is important, but what's more interesting is to have a really delicious and tasty food product that you can cut through and have a bite, and be excited," Ben-Shitrit said.