photo of steak beside photo of 3d printing lab

Food from a printer seems like something pulled right out of a dystopian movie. But, it may just be the future of the alternative meat industry. The ability to affordably and quickly manufacture food without the need for mass amounts of land and infrastructure will save producers lots of money and have a positive impact on the planet.

The market of alternative meat products has gained momentum as many individuals seek to eliminate meat from their diets for both health and environmental benefits. The startup Redefine Meat has taken this industry to the next step by creating 3D industrial printers that can print faux meat, or a plant-based alternative to regular meat. 

What’s so wrong with meat?

The meat industry is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gases between the methane released from cows, water depletion, and processing and transportation of meat products. In the coming years, the plant-based foods industry will be one of the key instruments to reducing our carbon footprint. Slaughterhouses require large amounts of land and natural resources to farm and process animals. In addition to this the meat industry requires large amounts of feed crops to support their livestock, adding to increased fertilizer in the soil and land depletion. 

Plant-based diets also have many health benefits, consuming red meat whether it is processed or unprocessed has links to diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Meat alternatives feature healthier ingredients that do not have the same links to detrimental health effects. As demand for alternative meat products ramps up, companies like Redefine Meat will help fill those demands. 

Solutionists Redefining Meat

Redefine Meat’s printers can produce up to 250 kilograms of faux meat a day according to creator Ben-Shitrit. These printers still have a long way to go, as they cannot yet compare to the amount of meat produced in traditional slaughterhouses which process over 100,000 cows a day, but this still shows a solution for the impacts of the meat industry. Redefine Meat has not yet disclosed how much the printers will cost, but the price of the steaks produced from the printers will be priced comparably to traditional steaks. 

Food engineer Alexey Tomsov stated that the company’s key to profit is to create a product with the same taste and texture as traditional meat. To do this they identify three components that make the perfect steak, the muscle, blood, and fat. To replicate this the recipe utilizes soy, pea proteins, coconut fat, and sunflower oil. All the ingredients in these steaks are completely plant-based and vegan. 

So far Redefine Meat is not the only company racing to become a leader in the alternative meat industry. Another startup, Novameat is also developing 3D printed steaks, but also a muscle version of pork products. Household names such as Impossible Foods, founded by solutionist Patrick Brown, have revolutionized the faux meat industry as an increasing number of restaurants offer their products as vegan alternatives. According to Allied Market research the global faux meat marketed is projected to reach a value of $8.1 billion dollars by 2026, hoping to revolutionize the way we eat. 

What can you do?

Alternative meat products have become the center of many people’s diet as they choose to cut out meat. Eating plant based has many benefits for your personal health and the environment. 

Making a change doesn’t mean tossing out the meat and dairy in your refrigerator, it can start with choosing an Impossible Whopper from Burger King, including more plant-based recipes into your routine. You don’t have to quit eating meat all at once, even skipping meat for just one meal a day can make a difference. Try Participating in Meatless Mondays to go plant-based one day a week. 

With one individual taking the step to limit their meat consumption, it supports a larger movement of individuals bettering themselves and our environment. Shrinking our carbon footprints is one step in the journey to create a better future for our planet, and companies like Redefine Meat are paving the way.