Italian bioengineer Giuseppe Scionti, with his Spanish startup NovaMeat, has invented the world’s first 3D-printed meat-free steak from vegetable proteins. The steak is said to exactly mimic the texture of beef, and he has plans to develop a chicken breast in addition.
Scionti launched NovaMeat in November 2018 to create a sustainable and nutritious plant-based alternative to meat. He found that the current meat alternatives on the market are limited to burgers, nuggets, or meatballs, which lack the fibrous texture of steak or chicken. Using tissue engineering and bio-printing, he created a vegan product with the same consistency, appearance, and nutritional properties as animal meat products.
The vegan 3D printed steak – along with the plant-based chicken breast – is still in the early stage, using plant-based ingredients such as rice, peas and seaweed, which are combined into a food paste that is then 3D-printed to form a raw, steak-like substance.
While there are numerous companies working on growing artificial meat from animal cells, these methods take a long time to make and currently are expensive. Scionti’s 3D printing method creates a 100 grams steak in 30 minutes and it costs just under $3. The only thing that NovaMeat’s products reportedly lack at the moment is the flavour of animal meat, and Scionti has begun to looking into partnering up with chefs to resolve this.