Meat-free vegan burgers are already gaining popularity. But a new food-tech start up business claims its vegan “steak” can not only fool your taste buds into thinking you are eating beef but also offer a more sustainable food supply system.
Novameat says its method of 3-D printing plant-based proteins can produce a vegan meal with the texture and appearance of a real beef steak.
“It is done with a printer so that we can get at the same time the appearance and the texture of a traditional steak,” said Novameat founder Giuseppe Scionti after the first public demonstration of Version 2.0 of the company’s machine on Tuesday.
“We are ordering the fibers as if they were muscular fibers, so we are micro-extruding these filaments so that the plant-based steak has at the same time the appearance and the texture of an actual beef steak.”
Described as a “Nespresso for meat substitutes,” the unusual 3-D printer uses syringes filled with plant-based ingredients. The goop forms a fibrous meat-like structure when extruded, line-by-line, to build up the shape the chef wants.
Printing a steak at the Culinary School of Barcelona, Spain, took around 20 minutes. But it was worth the wait according to students eager to try the finished product.
“I like it,” said one student, chewing a flash-fried piece of seasoned Novameat.
At least two other startups are trying to “print” steaks, but Scionti says they are imitating ground meat like in beef burgers, not recreating the meat micro-fibers as Novameat is doing.
The company estimates that printing two pounds of steak costs about $30 in raw ingredients.
Scionti says he expects that restaurants will buy the first commercial version of his food printer as a novelty. But he hopes to produce a version for home-use as well.
“Imagine a future where somebody can have this machine at home and create customized food in their [sic]kitchen,” he proposes.
Would a meat-making machine be a winning product, or would it be a flash in the pan—wildly popular for only a limited time? Would you put yours on the counter next to your bread maker?
(The syringe of a Novameat 3-D food printer zips back and forth, laying down plant-based ingredients to form a, uh, . . . steak? Reuters)