Research has enabled 3D printing to produce synthetic meats via sustainable means
Spotted: Sustainability is often at the forefront of consumer’s minds when making product choices. Springwise has seen various innovations capitalising on this trend, such as in the textile industry, where researchers have created new fibres from bio-waste. It has also had an impact on people’s eating habits, with one student creating a whole range of foods based on lichen. Now a researcher has developed a way of creating synthetic meat using vegetable proteins and a 3D printer.
Giuseppe Scionti is a Barcelona-based researcher and the brains behind Nova Meat. For the last ten years, much of Scionti’s work has focused on biomedicine and tissue engineering. He has made strides in bioprinting various synthetic tissues, from artificial corneas and skin to artificial ears. Now Scionti has turned his hand to synthetic meat.
The meat itself can mimic the texture of beef or chicken. The process involves using vegetable proteins that replicate similar protein complexes found in red meat. The meat is then ‘printed out’ using a specialised 3D printer. Such research developments could lead to the creation of a realistic steak substitute in the near future. Nova Meat could also be the solution to the fake meat problem that insect proteins, lab-made meat, or other substitutes are currently seeking to solve. With an increasing number of people going meat-free for at least part of the time, a sustainable alternative needs to be found. Soy-based substitutes are often popular, yet the production of soy can be non-environmentally friendly in itself.
Printing 100 grams of this synthetic meat costs under €3 and uses solely sustainable raw ingredients. Scionti is looking into working with experienced chefs, in order to perfect the taste of the meat.