Food startup debuts world's first texturized plant-based 'meat' burger

Not soy or peas – this burger patty is made using protein-rich chickpeas.
Ameya Paleja
MTE debuts its texturized meat burger
MTE debuts its texturized meat burger

Meat. The End 

Meat. The End, an Israel-based food startup engaged in making plant-based "meat" products, has unveiled the world's first texturized burger. The company claims that its newest offering mimics the smell, taste, and bite of a classic meat burger.

Plant-based alternative meat is a major revolution in the food industry that aims to provide a source of protein to the global population without sourcing them from animals. Instead, it relies on a process called extrusion which has been in use for the production of products like cereals and puffed snacks and uses it to process plant proteins into mimicking animal-sourced meat.

Conventionally, plant-based meat companies have relied on protein from soy and, more recently, peas to make their products. However, the chickpea, one of the earliest cultivated legumes and known to have high protein content, has now also been found to be an ideal processing ingredient to mimic the texture of meat.

The texturized 'meat' burger

The race to build the best plant-based meat burger began some time ago, with Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat looking to wow customers by getting their burger patties to taste just like the meat-based ones. Israel-based Meat, The End (MTE), however, is taking a different approach.

The company believes that the texture of the "meat" is key to a satisfied customer and therefore looked for a different protein source to achieve this. Founder and CEO Yishai Mishor told The Times of Israel that the company uses an advanced extrusion technology to turn chickpea protein into alternative meat that has the "structure, bite and juice" that one would expect from animal-sourced meat.

Food startup debuts world's first texturized plant-based 'meat' burger
MTE promises its burgers are as tasty and juicy as real meat ones

To get to this point, the company has used artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology to infuse additional steps into the conventional extrusion process and produce texturized protein ingredients, which can then be used to build the burger patties.

Over the next few months, the company plans to set up its extrusion plant in the country where it can produce texturized protein at an industrial scale. Extrusion is also cost-effective and uses fewer resources for production when compared to other methods. Products using this advanced process are expected to be available in the markets in 2023.

Apart from MTE, other Israeli food tech startups have also begun to use chickpeas for sourcing protein for making other vegan products or simply protein concentrates for other applications.

Guess this is just the beginning of Meat. The End.

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