With the speed 3D printing technologies are advancing, it looks like the question that will baffle couples and lead to indecisive fights will be "What shall we print for dinner?" in a few years. Redefine Meat, an Israeli company that was founded in 2018, has unveiled an "Alt-Steak" which looks and tastes like the real thing and it is to hit Israeli restaurants this year.
Redefine Meat is quite literally out to define meat, and the company states that it can create sustainable, high-protein, no-cholesterol steaks thanks to advanced 3D printing technologies.
From lab to the restaurants
Eshchar Ben-Shitrit, who founded the company, first known as Jet Eat, back in 2018, stated that this announcement "marks the start of a new are in alternative meat. “We are actually printing steaks," he said. "We have a product. It is something we are doing already in large amounts."
The beef will be tested at selected high-end restaurants in Israel later in 2020. The product will be offered as part of a chef's dish and the production of the 3D meat printers and alt-meat formulations will be ramped up after getting feedback from high-level chefs and butchers.
The next step will be market distribution in 2021.
Its charm is at its technology
The company developed the patented tech that does 3D prints meat substitutes using plant-based formulations. It quite literally uses "ink" to "print" the steaks, and the steaks are made out of soy and pea proteins, coconut fat and sunflower oil, natural colors, and flavors.
During a phone interview with the Times of Israel, Ben-Shitrit said, "It is very unique to us; we are the only ones doing this. We come very close to how the composition of meat is in nature, and our 3D printer essentially is like a very complicated robot that knows how to take each one of these ingredients and in a very accurate manner… builds a food product."
Master food engineering
The plant-based products are combined with water and put into three ink cartridges. These cartridges are loaded into their 3D printer which is the size of a big fridge.
After the materials go through food engineering in the printer, the machine ejects the product, printing a mix of fat, blood, and meat to give the structure of muscle that is similar to a cow's.
Ben-Shitrit stated that the machine prints "one dot over the other, and the product is built from almost one million dots." The software can dictate the type of steak the printer prints.
"By using separate formulations for muscle, fat, and blood, we can focus on each individual aspect of creating the perfect alt-steak product. This is unique to our 3D printing technology and lets us achieve unprecedented control," he said.
As of now, each machine can produce six kilograms (13.3 pounds) an hour and it will eventually reach 200 kilograms of meat a day.
Not only creating a vegan dish but also offering an option to everyone else
The company's main goal is not to create a vegan dish, but also to disrupt the food supply chain globally since meat production is known to have a negative impact on the environment.
The 3D printing revolution might remove the need to source meat from the cattle and provide a new, more sustainable way to enjoy meat in the future.