According to a review published in Science global meat consumption is constantly rising, driven mostly by a dramatic increase in population, rising incomes and urbanization. This trend has damaging consequences not only on the environment but also on the world economy. Furthermore, researchers agree that especially in the case of excessive red meat consumption, various
health risks common to chronic disease are prevalent.
In addition, industrial livestock production further burdens the world’s climate. According to Worldwatch Institute “Animal waste releases methane and nitrous oxide, greenhouse gases that are 25 and 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide, respectively”; thus, finding the best meat substitute has become a topical issue for scientists all over the world.
Thanks to cutting-edge technologies and innovative solutions, some startups have embarked on a mission to create healthy alternatives to traditional meat without compromising on taste.
Jet Eat is an Israeli startup founded in 2018 by Eshchar Ben Shitrit, a former VP in marketing who hopes to solve the global meat consumption problem by creating “digitalized” meat.
According to NoCamels, Jet Eat has made advancements in the 3D- printing technology by replacing meat with “plant-based formulations to emulate the appearance, texture, and taste of natural meat”.
As a former meat consumer, Shitrit understood that he needs to emphasize all sensory aspects, thus he claims that his meat substitute perfectly replicates the aroma, texture, and taste of real meat.
“Israel is the birthplace of innovation in 3D- printing and digital printing and is a true expert in using technology to address the problems of conventional markets,” Ben Shitrit told NoCamels. “Nowadays, digital printing is being utilized in areas ranging from organs to dentistry and I believe that, in an increasingly digitalized world, it can be applied to food as well.”
Shitrit clarified that he started by analyzing the components and particularities of meat. As he mentioned “Meat is characterized by four components: the muscle, the fat within it, myoglobin and a connective tissue” thus he went on to replicate with the “3D printer and precise formulations, the complex matrix that is meat.”
The production is advanced in collaboration with the Technion- Israel Institute of Technology, and it’s expected that the final product will be available for purchase in 2020.
Finding viable alternatives to meat, especially in a market like Israel, which is promoted as a vegan destination and has “the most vegans per capita”, has become a priority, while initiatives like the one promoted by Jet Eat are building up the momentum for a vegan future.
Globally, various other scientists have been successful in 3D- printing of food. Some examples include Giuseppe Scionti from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia who according to VegNews has “developed a machine that creates 3D- printed meat alternatives from peas and seaweed” and BeeHex a company with roots at NASA, who’s 3Dprinting technology can create dessert decorators and pizza toppings.
Perhaps thanks to these cutting-edge companies, we will undertake a global dietary shift, contributing to a sustainable food future.