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Plant-Based Food: This Spanish Start-Up Creates 3D-Printed Vegetarian Ribeye Steak

plant-based-food:-this-spanish-start-up-creates-3d-printed-vegetarian-ribeye-steak

Novameat eyes mass production of this alternative meat, which mimics real meat’s look, taste, and texture.

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Care to try a plant-based steak?

Novameat, a startup based in Spain, has created a ribeye steak out of a blend of water, vegetable fat, and plant proteins using a 3D printer. Established in 2018, the company’s technology has produced what The Guardian has called “the most realistic plant-based steak.”

Their goal is to create clean meat that can be sustainable. They also hope to play a part in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and help offset the massive water waste that results from the 346.14 million tons of meat that humans consume globally each year.

Beyond burger

Unlike most plant-based meats like Beyond Burger which, at best, replicates the shape of a regular meat burger, Novameat’s steak hopes to mimic the flavor, texture, and complex interplay of muscle and fat.

It builds on a decade’s worth of research by its founder, biomedical engineer Giuseppe Scionti.

“While I was researching on regenerating animal tissues through bioprinting technologies for biomedical and veterinary applications, I discovered a way to bio-hack the structure of the native 3D matrix of a variety of plant-based proteins to achieve a meaty texture,” he says in a TechCrunch report.

Achieved through machinery with syringes filled with plant-based ingredients, the team showcased just how their plant-based steak is made during the recently-concluded Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

“It didn’t have the feeling of a traditional steak but I was positively surprised because I did not expect that the texture would be so well achieved,” says Ferran Gregori in a Reuters report via MSN. He tried one of the steaks printed at Novameat’s stand at the world’s largest telecoms gathering.

Challenges to overcome

Though it mimics real meat’s texture and appearance, Novameat admits the taste is not ready yet, as reported by Gizmodo.

Scionti and the team, however, are continuing tests to improve the plant-based steak to achieve a milestone they have been eyeing for a while—mass production and market availability.

At the moment, the company is only conducting small-scale recipe testing as it is cost-efficient. Once successful, the team can start to produce larger quantities in bigger machines to manufacture as much as 500 kilograms of alternative meat an hour. They can also begin providing interested restaurants or plant-based meat manufacturers with a customized printer to create the kinds of fibrous tissues needed to make a steak.

Their most recent success is from their collaboration with Disfrutar, a World’s 50 Best restaurant based in Barcelona. The partnership resulted in the release of the world’s largest cultivated whole cut meat slab.

But Novameat is also receiving significant support from the government and private sector.

The company received £250,000 from the Spanish government. It was also a beneficiary of a significant investment by New Crop Capital, which has been backing alternative protein and meat replacement companies.

It remains unclear just how much a 3D-printed ribeye steak will potentially retail, but Novameat is reportedly aiming for a “price point that people will pay.”

Banner Photo from @nova_meat on IG

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