What’s significant about this?
3D printing of food has great potential but so far has failed to live up to its promise. It needs a “killer app” and 3D printed plant-based steaks could be that app. Plant-based burgers and sausages are all the rage but getting the right texture for a plant-based steak is a much bigger challenge. If plant-based products can successfully mimic conventional steaks then this will be a major advance in creating a sustainable food supply acceptable to consumers.
The major advantage of 3D printing is the ability to manufacture personalized products on demand. Three organisations looking to deliver on this promise are Redefine Meat (formerly Jet-Eat), Nova Meats and Campden BRI.
3D plant based steaks are closer than you think.
Israel based Redefine Meat has teamed up with a family-run butcher in France, flavour house Givaudan, and the Technion Institute of Technology in Israel to develop plant-based meat products. They want to use “plant-based ingredients that can mimic the muscle structure, fat and blood of a steak.” To prove their product they recently served some unsuspecting diners with their plant-based kebabs, apparently with some success! They plan to have products in European restaurants in 2020.
Giuseppe Scionti, founder of Nova Meats, plans to have his plant-based steaks in restaurant within 1-2 years and in supermarkets within 5 years. His background in tissue engineering gives him a unique viewpoint on mimicking the structure of conventional meat. His approach will be interesting to watch.
Improving 3D food printing.
Campden are looking at 3D printing as an industry project to explore the opportunities to improve the technology, particularly the flowability of the ingredients. “3D-printing may also have benefits for reducing process development and NPD [new product development] times, food waste could also be reduced, as perishable products, which would otherwise decline in quality, could be printed on demand.” said Gael Delamere the Campden project leader.
They also see great advantages in personalised food, particularly for those requiring very specifically fortified diets like anaemia and Vitamin D.
3D-printing of food has been around for a long time, but has really been only for novelty products, particularly confectionery. What’s needed is an industrial scale “killer app” and plant-based meats could be the one. Add to that the personalisation factor for small scale and in-home printing and perhaps 3D food printings time has finally arrived!