NovaMeat, the Spanish startup which creates realistic meat alternatives through 3D printing plant proteins, has developed a new version of its faux steak. CEO Giuseppe Scionti told me that its new product, which he called Steak 2.0, is “the first to mimic simultaneously the texture and the appearance of an animal whole muscle cut, in this case a beef steak.” The steak cost €1.35 ($1.50) per 50 grams to produce.
Scionti claims this is the most realistic plant-based steak that has yet been developed. Steak and other whole muscle cuts — like chicken breast or pork chops — have a tricky texture that’s much more difficult to make from plants than, say, ground meat. And unlike burgers, there are very few plant-based steak options out there right now, outside of a few smaller brands mainly selling in Europe.
Down the road, however, that will likely change. Redefine Meat is also using 3D printing to make realistic meat alternatives, Atlast Food is developing a mycelium (mushroom root) based scaffold for whole cuts of plant-based meat, and Emergy Foods is creating plant-based steak that looks eerily similar to the real thing — but neither of them have brought a product to market yet. On the cell-based front, Aleph Farms has already successfully grown cultured steak the width and thickness of a credit card (though that’s also a ways from being available).
NovaMeat’s Steak 2.0 has yet to be put to a public taste test, so it’s hard to substantiate Scionti’s claims regarding its superior taste and texture. It’ll be a while yet before we’re able to taste it ourselves. The startup will license its micro-extrusion technology to plant-based meat manufacturers in two to three years. However, Scionti told me that he hopes to start selling his steaks at a small scale to restaurants in Europe by the end of 2020.
By that time, there will likely be a lot more players making plant-based whole muscle cuts that actually look and taste like the real thing. Most notable is Impossible Foods, maker of the plant-based “bleeding” burger. The startup is set to unveil a brand new product at CES 2020 tomorrow, and last year Impossible’s CEO Pat Brown told The Spoon that their next product would likely be steak. Check back tomorrow to see if NovaMeat’s Steak 2.0 is about to get some serious competition!