Now Plant-Based Steaks can Come from a 3D Printer

Israeli startup Redefine Meat is making faux meat that tastes like the real thing.

Jul 19, 2020

Meat alternatives are gaining in popularity. There are plant-based substitutes, lab-made meat and even 3D printed meat. While burgers have been fairly easy to replicate, steak has not, until now.

Israeli startup Redefine Meat unveiled the world’s first plant-based steak in June 2020, made with a 3D printing technology according to No More Camels. The Rehovot – a city near Tel Aviv – based company will offer the product as part of a chef’s dish that has the option to order the faux steak instead of regular meat.

The company was founded in 2008 by Eshchar Ben-Shitrit, a former meat eater, who is on a mission to develop a technological method to produce animal-free meat and they seem to be successful. The new technology has produced a high-protein, no cholesterol steak that looks like, cooks like and tastes like beef.  

“Redefine Meat developed a unique 3D printing technology that the company uses to develop and manufacture Alt-Meat. The process brings together industry experience in food engineering and additive manufacturing with a digitally-driven machine – but that’s the only similarity to 3D printing,” Ben-Shitrit told NoCamels.

 “The technology isn’t about creating shape, but actually creating a macro-structure that can combine a desired texture with a desired flavor, in addition to several other sensory parameters that are required.”

This alt-steak is actually created with layers of what Redefine calls “alt-muscle,” “alt-fat,” and “alt-blood,” forming a complex 3D model according to Fast Company. In fact, three different types of bio-ink are used in the printing of the parts. No other company has made a product that really resembles real meat that didn’t actually come from a cow.

Redefine said on its website that this plant-based meat uses 90 percent less water, 95 percent less land, and emits 90 percent less greenhouse gases than meat from animals.

The company is planning on testing the 3D printers in restaurants later in 2020 and hopes to be selling them to restaurants beginning in 2021. The digital recipes can be tailored to the eatery’s needs.

“We can use a 3D model of an entirely different meat product with the same machine, process, and ingredients, whereas traditional food production technologies have to change entire formulations. We can also iterate a steak to be softer, harder, juicier with less fat, and much more—all with a simple click of a button,” Ben-Shitrit told Fast Company.

Redefine is not the only Israeli company involved in making faux meat. Aleph Farms is making beef in a lab in a process that mimics how meat is produced in a cow’s body. Other companies are working on alternatives to animal-based proteins made of kelp and mushrooms. With a growing number of vegetarians and vegans in Israel, the sky seems to be the limit.

“We believe in the next 20 years we’ll see a massive shift towards replacing animals in the food supply chain,” Ben-Shitrit told Fast company. “It will happen in eggs, dairy, and meat, but the biggest problem is no doubt meat.

“One hundred years from now, our great-grandkids will find it shocking that we needed to raise and kill animals for food.”

The world needs to continue to find new alternatives to meat. Using that much land, and resources, is unsustainable. Hopefully the start-up-nation will continue to find even more creative ways to make high protein meat replacements to feed a hungry world.

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BONNIE RIVA RAS, EDITOR & WRITER
Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.