A new company wants to offer people the chance to print steaks and chicken breasts using a 3D printer.
Barcelona-based Nova Meats is the latest to join the ranks of the lab-produced meat substitute market. Founder Giuseppe Scionti, an Italian bioengineer and researcher at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, has invented a technology that allows plant-based ingredients to be turned into a meat-like product with a similar protein content and fibrous consistency of meat.
A protein powder made from rice, peas and seaweed is transformed into a meat-like paste which can be inserted into the 3D printer and shaped and textured accordingly: a user may use a steak shape option along with the texture of real meat. Or a breast option with the consistancy of chicken.
As for the taste - there may be some fine-tuning to do, and Scionti has reached out to chefs such as Ferran Adrià and the Roca brothers for help, according to an interview with Business Insider. Scionti states that the use of amino acids from rice and pea protein means that the nutritional properties of his plant-based meat will also be close to that of real beef and chicken.
Above, a piece of cooked chicken breast and below, a piece of cooked printed vegetable chicken breast, both in a pan
This is an advancement for the meat alternative market which is currently focused on creating tastes similar to animal meat but many have the texture of ground meat, unable to simulate the fibrous flesh of real steak. Scionti holds the patent for the specific mix that imitates the texture of real meat tissue which could set his innovation apart.
Prototype of a printed vegetable steak
Credit all images: Giuseppe Scionti