Boom meat substitutes. 3D printer steaks are also served by Michelin chefs

It looks like regular juicy meat, but it comes from a 3D printer and is made from a blend of soy and pea protein, chickpeas, beets, yeast and coconut oil.

The London restaurant is one of the first in Europe to test Israeli startup Redefine Meat’s meat substitute. Ahead of his planned product expansion, he received feedback not only directly from customers but also from chefs, and in this case also from those with a Michelin star.

“I tasted their lamb kefta. I find it very interesting how they can mimic the structure and taste. Even though it’s not that strong, because the lamb, which is more like a mutton, can be very strong. But I like the juice they created. The structure is quite close, but it’s not the same muscle, we know that “, French Michelin chef Daniel Galmiche describes his impressions for the PA agency.

Rating of Critics, Chefs and Business Leaders

At the end of January, the London restaurant Chotto Matte invited 50 gastro-critics, chefs and restaurateurs, who were expecting a five-course lunch. The so-called new meat from Israel pleasantly surprised most of them. The chain’s chef and operator, who organized the event in cooperation with the startup and also received a Michelin star in the past, also has a positive experience.

“There are so many similarities when you cut it. When you cook it on the grill, you can tell it’s a bit different, because it’s done very quickly and can burn quickly. With regular meat, you have different types such as cutlets, back or shoulder, which are done slowly. And it looks like beef, which is done slowly. But when you grill it, it is immediately pink and browned like a steak,” adds Jordan Sclare, Michelin chef Chotto Matte and chain operator.

Secret ingredients – the company with “meat” also sends “blood”

But to make New Meat taste as close to regular meat as possible, the Israeli meat startup also provides a special flavor – or, according to the company, a scent – and an imitation of blood, whose exact composition does not reveal. However, Redefine Meat is proud to be the first company in the world to produce plant-based meat substitutes in whole pieces and replicate its structure, it is said to have developed a special algorithm that controls 3D printers.

“We call it additive manufacturing, where you build a product layer by layer. It allows us to control its structure, in which the fibers store fat and water. And to create the food that man made that you are eating today that comes closest to the organic meat we are used to eating. When you look at it it looks like meat, when you put it in your mouth it looks like meat and your brain connects it to meat”, adds the boss of the Israeli startup Eshchar Ben-Shitrit, specifying that vegetarians and vegans like their product, and they also target people who try to consume less meat for environmental or health reasons. health.

According to the AP, New Meat still costs around 25 pounds, or 725 crowns per kilogram. However, the Israelis plan to raise the price to around a third. They will be helped, for example, by printers twice as powerful with a production rate of around 20 kilograms of product per hour and a new high-capacity factory with a production of 5,000 tons per year, which they want to open. in the Netherlands in the coming months.

Record investment in European expansion

The startup, founded in 2018, raised money for it in its second round of funding at the end of January, when it received $135 million from investors, or almost three billion crowns. Last February, he managed to raise $29 million in the first round, and in the initial series in 2019, he started with just $6 million.

With funding from a series of record investments, the company also plans to pay for expansion to 5,000 restaurants across Europe. Since December, New Meat has only been tested in 32 companies, in addition to the Dutch and British, for example in Germany. In addition to steaks printed in pieces, it also offers minced meat for burgers, sausages or kebabs.

Leading UK investment bank Barclays estimates that due to the development of technology, sales in the meat substitutes sector could reach $140 billion by 2029, or three trillion crowns, or around 10% of the global turnover of the meat industry as a whole. .

Which companies dominate the substitute market? The EU is also helping

The biggest global players are California-based Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, which previously revealed that one of its key ingredients in making a successful meat substitute is the most perfect imitation of what is calls heme, or part of hemoglobin, a blood pigment that binds iron and creates the characteristic taste of meat.

The American company gets it from soybeans, which, like other legumes, also binds iron with its own hemoglobin. More precisely, it extracts its DNA from the roots of the plant then inserts it into genetically modified yeasts, which take up this property.

The company then propagates the yeast thus enriched by fermentation and adds it to its product which, for a better structure, combines soy protein with potato protein and whose fat is a mixture of walnut oil. coconut and sunflower. The resulting burgers then really look like they’re bleeding. Critics tried to challenge that in court, and although the company cleared its name, it delayed putting its meat substitutes on US shelves until September 2019.

It’s the hemline that significantly distinguishes Impossible Foods from the already commercialized Beyond Meat, but also from other small companies and startups that produce meat alternatives without these more innovative technologies. The burgers would have tasted his burgers even better than the traditional ones. Last November, it also raised more than $2.1 billion from eager investors including Bill Gates, Serena Williams and Katy Perry, and indicated it could enter Wall Street this year. He has previously said he wants to reach the $10 billion valuation and expand to China and Europe.

In Europe, the Spanish startup Novameat, which also processes steaks from a 3D printer and received in December, for example, 1.8 million euros directly from the European Union grant program for innovative companies , focuses on the production of meat substitutes using more innovative technologies . The project, with a total budget of 41.5 million euros, announced in June that it wanted to enter the market this year, and given its low cost and production method, this would be easily possible, according to the European Innovation Council, and does not contain soy. .

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