Dutch company Vivera claims it has created the holy grail of plant-based protein – a 100% vegan steak that tastes and smell so good that consumers will barely be able to tell that it’s not actual steak.
Made primarily of soy and wheat, the groundbreaking vegan steak is the result of one and a half years of trial and error, with Vivera’s experts working against the clock to ensure that the Dutch company is the first to bring a 100% plant-based steak to market. While getting the taste and smell right was a big challenge, the texture was by far the most difficult to replicate. Making a plant-based product feel like steak when your biting and chewing on it is apparently not the easiest thing in the world.
“Bite and steak-like structure were the most challenging aspects to replicate,” Gert Jan Gombert, commercial director at Vivera, told Food Navigator. “It needs to have some pressure against the teeth as well as a juiciness. We spent a lot of time to get the juiciness that flows with beef.”
“A large group of vegetarians, vegans and flexitarians has been very interested in such a product for years. With the breakthrough of its market introduction and large-scale production, a large group of consumers can enjoy this very tasty plant-based product. The smell, taste and bite can hardly be distinguished from real steak and we are convinced that this product will meet a large need of consumers. The smell, taste and bite can hardly be distinguished from real steak and we are convinced that this product will meet a large need of consumers,” Gombert added.
Vivera calls its realistic plant-based steak “ground-breaking in terms of animal welfare and sustainability” as well as a way of getting meat eaters to consume more plant protein. Confident in its success, the Dutch company has announced its plans to bring several millions of vegan steak to market in 2018.
British supermarket giant Tesco will be the first retailer in the world to sell Vivera plant-based steaks, in 400 of its stores across the UK. Stores in the Netherlands will start selling it in June, and consumers should be able to find it in German, French and Italian supermarkets in the second half of this year. No work on when or whether Vivera intends to start selling its innovative steak in the US.
As a sceptic, I have to admit that this thing doesn’t look half bad in the pictures Vivera released, but we’ll have to wait and see how it actually tastes. As for how it’s cooked, Gert Jan Gombert says it’s even simpler than actual steak.
“Our steak is one you can’t mess up,” he said. “Everyone can cook it really well, keeping the juices in – unless you cook it for half an hour.”
So, now we have realistic plant-based steak and an impossible burger that tastes like the real thing. What’s next, veggie chicken?