For the past few years, the alternative protein sector has been making major inroads.
If you’ve been to a fast-food restaurant lately, you’ve probably noticed that you can get non-meat versions of burgers at many of them, whether it’s called the impossible burger or a beyond burger or whatever this is. I haven’t had one, but I’ve heard that they acquit themselves quite nicely.
And they’re about to have some competition – from your computer.
An Israeli company called Redefine Meat Ltd. is currently peddling 3D-printed steaks to restaurants in Israel, Europe, and Asia. They have raised $29 million in the service of building a factory in which to print out plant-based meat facsimiles of filet and rump and brisket that they hope to sell later this year.
Earlier this year, another Israeli company called Aleph Farms produced the world’s first 3D printed steak, a ribeye created using living animal cells. According to the Washington Post Aleph Farms uses technology developed by Technion Israel Institute of Technology to print “living cells that are incubated on a plant-based matrix to grow, differentiate and interact to achieve the texture and qualities of a real steak.”
“It’s not just proteins. It’s a complex, emotional product,” says Aleph chief executive Didier Toubia. And here I thought eating emotional products was part of the problem!
It seems that no matter the exact method, 3D printed steaks are the next step in the alternative meat market that hopes to worm its way into the 50 million burgers Americans eat every year.
Unfortunately, the US FDA doesn’t quite know how to account for this kind of thing just yet, so it may be a while before we’re able to safely take a bite.