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3D-Printed Meat Substitutes Make a Splash in Europe

Redefine Meat Whole Cut Meat Substitute
Redefine Meat is expanding its product categories to include whole cuts of meat. Credit: Redefine Meat

Already massive food industry is expected to get even larger. The data firm Allied Market Research says that the meat substitute market is expected to reach $8.1 billion by 2026.

Whether for health reasons or religious motivations, consumers have been increasingly turning to meat substitutes for their culinary enjoyment, both at home and when eating out.

This trend has generated many companies that specialize in such meat substitutions. Companies such as California-based Impossible Foods Inc are bringing consumers Impossible Burgers to a supermarket near them, as well as the Impossible Whoppers that are now available at their nearest Burger King.

3D Printed Whole Cuts of “Meat”

Now, the Israeli-based start-up Redefine Meat is upping the ante, bringing 3D printed meat substitutes to markets throughout Europe. The company which was founded in 2018 had ten employees in 2019 with a first round of seed-funding; now in 2021 it has reached 100 employees.

Redefine Meat boasts five product variations in ground meat substitutes, including burgers and sausages, but perhaps its greatest endeavor of all is whole cuts of plant-based meat alternatives, such as hanger steaks and skewers.

In keeping with the industry’s innovative take on food, the company refers to its product line as “New Meat,” challenging the status quo.

The company believes the whole cuts will broaden the appeal of alternative meat products that have mostly been limited to ground-beef dishes, acknowledging, however, that these larger cuts of alternative meat are more complicated to produce and are still evolving.

But the goal is clear. “This is the money-maker. This is the reason we have meat,” CEO Eshchar Ben-Shitrit said.

Currently, the major competition for Redefine Meat is in the United States, with behemoths such as Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, but Spain’s Novameat has strong footing in Europe. Israel’s Redefine Meat is planning on opening factories in the United States, Asia, and European countries, hoping to give the older companies a run for their money.

“We raised the largest amount by far that an Israeli alternative meat company has ever raised,” Ben-Shitrit said, having just secured $35 million in funding, on top of an additional undisclosed amount.

All Redefine Meat products are made from plant-based ingredients, and are free from GMOs, antibiotics, cholesterol, and animal-based products. The start-up’s main appeal, however, is the combination of its product range, which unlike its competition goes beyond ground meat substitutes to include whole cuts, as well as its 3D-printing technology.

This proprietary technology and its passion for excellent plant-based meat substitutes are what makes company members believe that it can become “the world’s largest meat company by offering every single cut that a cow does,” Ben-Shitrit says.

The future of the company is based on not only selling the products to retailers but also selling their 3D printing technology to meat distributors, thus scaling their business exponentially.

The industrial-scale digital manufacturing technology is patented and manages to fully replicate the muscle structure of beef, although the meat substitute products are made of a mix of pea protein, soy, beetroot, chickpeas, and coconut fat. The result is high in protein and has no cholesterol, yet looks, cooks, feels, and tastes like the real deal, according to the startup.

If you are wondering how the company can accomplish the lofty goal of creating a true-to-taste meat substitute using only plant-based ingredients, perhaps it is because 75 of their 100 employees identify as carnivores, so they know good meat when they eat it.

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