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Startup Creates World’s First 3D-Printed Meatless Beef Steak

It used to be that if something looked, felt and tasted like beef steak, it was probably beef steak, but with the advent of 3D-printing technology as well as meatless meats, that’s no longer the case.

Spanish startup NovaMeat claims to have created the world’s first 3D-printed plant based beef steak, which allegedly has the same texture and appearance as a real beef muscle cut. The Barcelona-based company was reportedly able to achieve this by “finely tuning” the structure of plant-based proteins at a microscopic level. The novel plant-based meat not only matches the unique texture of beef steak, but also its color, which should make it more appealing as a sustainable alternative to real beef steak.

Photo: NovaMeat

“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,” Dr. Giuseppe Scionti, founder of NovaMeat, explained how he came up with the idea for the innovative plant-based meat.

While companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods focus on plant-based alternatives to ground meat, like burger patties, NovaMeat is involved in the creation of 3D-printed, plant-based alternatives to fibrous meats, be they beef, salmon and pork.

Photo: NovaMeat

In 2018, NovaMeat created what it then called the world’s first 3D-printed meatless beef steak, but the recently revealed 2.0 version exhibits the appearance and texture that meat lovers want. The company’s goals is to create a plant-based steak that looks, feels, tastes and has the same nutritional value as real meat.

Dr. Scionti told Sifted Magazine that it plans to start selling its steaks on the market later this year and will start installing machines commercially next year. When its latest generation 3D-printers go online, they will be able to churn out 10kg of steak per hour. At first, users will only have a limited number of choices for the kind of steaks they want to print, like sirloin or fillet, but adding more types is going to be as easy as a software upgrade.

Photo: NovaMeat

“Maybe in the future, butchers and retailers will be able to design their own products, but that’s not something we’re focusing on right now,” NovaMeat co-founder Adam Lahav said.

This new 3D-printed, plant-based beef steak certainly sounds and looks very impressive, but as others have noticed, it has yet to undergo a public taste test. All we have to go on for now are the company’s statements and a few photos.

 

Interestingly, this is not the first plant-based steak. A couple of years ago we featured Vivera steak, a 100% plant-based steak that was reportedly “indistinguishable” from the real thing. It wasn’t 3D-printed, though.