Printed Technology

Spain’s Cocuus Plans to Produce 1,000 Tonnes of 3D Printed Plant-Based Bacon in 2024

Cocuus, a Spanish food tech company producing 3D-printed plant-based foods at scale, has revealed an ambitious goal for 2024: to make 1,000 tonnes of 3D-printed plant-based bacon.

With the global alternative proteins market expected to reach a minimum value of $290 billion by 2035, according to BCG and the Blue Horizon Corporation, the company aims to accelerate the production of 3D-printed plant-based bacon for distribution in retail and other channels. Early investors Cargill and Big Idea Ventures will support the food tech’s mass production of plant-based food. 

Last year, Cocuus and partner company Foody’s opened what they claimed as the world’s first industrial-scale facility for 3D-printed plant-based meat in Northern Spain, equipped with Cocuus’ advanced printing technology: only one machine can produce 250 kilos of plant-based bacon per hour. 

A picture of a mobil phone showing
Image courtesy of Eatable Adventures

Following the announcement of the new facility, the alliance celebrated its inaugural retail success by introducing its first product, plant-based bacon, in more than 400 Carrefour supermarkets under the Foody’s brand. The bacon, a finalist in the international V-Label awards, is said to offer less than 10% vegetable fat and does not contain main allergens such as gluten and soy. 

“We have a huge advantage: with our technology, we do in 5 minutes what two pigs do in a lifetime. This is the way to solve the lack of protein in the world,” said the founder and CEO of Cocuus, Patxi Larumbre.

Mass production of alt proteins

Cocuus also announced plans to expand its production capacity to include large-scale vegan tuna and shrimp production. However, salmon, octopus, and will be among other plant-based products that these companies plan to commercialize. Last July, they together developed the first 3D-printed plant-based tripe to recreate local and traditional dishes sustainably and ethically.

Plant-based tuna made by Cocuus
3D printed plant-based tuna – Image courtesy of Cocuus

In addition to plant-based products, Cocuus says it has plans to expand its product range by exploring methods to upcycle meat off-cuts and trimmings to make high-quality prime cuts using 3D printing.  

Cargill and Cocuus formed a strategic partnership in the summer of 2022 to drive innovation in alternative proteins and specialized nutrition. This collaboration has supported Cocuus in advancing its technology to scale up the production of plant-based bacon, explains the food tech.

“For Cocuus, reaching industrial scale is a key milestone and testament of years of research and development”

Since its establishment in Pamplona, Spain, in 2017, Cocuus has secured $8.8 million in capital and financing. Investors such as Big Idea Ventures, food-tech accelerator Eatable Adventures (which recently released its latest report on the Spanish food tech sector), and meat Ggiant Cargill have backed the company in various stages of its growth, including funds for the construction of the new facility.

“For Cocuus, reaching industrial scale is a key milestone and testament of years of research and development, guided by industry leaders such as Cargill. Mass production of tasty and healthful alternative proteins is urgent both for food security and the environment. And this new facility is just the beginning,” said Larrumbe.

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