We show you how to print in 3D the synthetic meat alternatives produced by the startup Nova Meat that are already being tested in Barcelona. A sustainable option with the environment and respectful of animals.
The pleasures of the flesh tempt more than one but, and if it were possible to eat meat without any animal having to suffer. The laboratory of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia is its kitchen and the 3D printers are the pots in which Giuseppe Scionti prepares at low heat what could become a substitute for a steak in the not so distant future.
This researcher specialized in bio-printing and tissue engineering has created an alternative meat based on vegetable proteins that is printed in 3D.
Perceptions about meat that make us underestimate its impact on climate change
It is just when the food market, valued at 90,000 million dollars, takes care of their backs to ensure their future, that this researcher crosses his path. It does not happen by chance. For more than ten years they have been researching and creating synthetic fabrics, artificial corneas, artificial skin or ears that seemed almost real.
A decade in which he hit more than one turn in his career and walked enough to stand up at the crossroads of the food sector: as an option straddling insect proteins, laboratory meat and vegetarianism in its many and multiple variants.
On the menu: beef or chicken
It was not until last November 2 that Scionti launched his own company Nova Meat. With a certain air of messiahs, comparing himself with geniuses like Einstein, he presents himself as the architect of an alternative to the consumption of traditional meat. The synthetic fillet of this Italian researcher imitates the texture of beef, still in the prototyping phase, and chicken.
This is, precisely, the differential factor, the most difficult to achieve: “it has fibrous flesh texture, not hamburger. There are other variants of synthetic meat with vegetable proteins such as Impossible Burguer. They are hamburgers that taste like meat, but they are hamburgers “, confirms the entrepreneur in an interview with Business Insider.
What is printed in 3D
According to the researcher, the difficulty of all this lies in rearranging the nanofibers of plant proteins to mimic the structure of animal proteins. Scionti produces these steaks from a reddish paste that he inserts in his 3D printer and generates, through a mouthpiece, the piece of synthetic meat.
Print, at this moment, 100 grams of vegetable meat costs something less than two euros, but by scaling the process for industrialization and commercialization its cost will be reduced. And this is, in fact, the second part of your project. Nor does it have, at the moment, a green light from the competent health authorities, but it should be remembered that products that are already commercialized are used.
The sins of the flesh are, in this way, less vegetable-based sin. The fillet also has the nutritional properties of real meat. A compendium of amino acids obtained from the proteins of peas and rice that manage to reproduce the protein properties of a fillet of beef.
“I have used raw materials that do not have a negative impact on the environment,” says Scionti, who then argues: “I have tried not to choose, for example, avocado or quinoa because a high demand for these foods could have a detrimental impact on the planet “, Adds Scionti.
If something is missing, for the moment, is to achieve the taste of real meat and, for this, Scionti has in the spotlight to associate with chefs who can help him in this endeavor. If the entrepreneur has already presented his alternative meat to chefs such as Ferran Adriá or Can Roca, to date, the project is part of the community of food startups (EIT Food) that the European Institute of Innovation and Technology has in Spain.
Last August, the Italian has seen how the patent on its development was approved. “The patent is about the microstrip that imitates the natural structure of the tissue of the flesh,” explains this Italian who lives in Barcelona.
All this, in a growing market with strong competitors
It is true that there are other alternatives to meat that work well with laboratory meat with driving companies such as Memphis Meat, Mosa Meat or Just or vegetable proteins such as Impossible Burger or Beyond Meat. According to the researcher, the first ones have achieved significant advances in the appearance of the
Arne while the second have more nuanced the flavors. Even the giant Unilever has made its foray in this regard in a collaboration with The Vegetarian Butcher, a company that sells vegetable-based products designed to mimic the taste of real meat.