3D-printed steaks may be the next evolution in plant-based meat

By now you've likely heard about the Impossible Burger and other similar plant-based meat alternatives like Beyond Meat. These products are made from plant-sourced protein rather than animal protein, offering a vegetarian alternative to traditional meats. A new Israeli startup called Redefine Meat has created a similar product, but has taken things a step farther, using 3D-printing technology to recreate steak from plants.

According to Reuters, Redefine Meat will launch its 3D-printing technology to produce realistic steaks using plant-based ingredients next year. The steaks are intended to look like real beef, but without the environmental and suffering concerns associated with actual animal protein.

Why use 3D printers to produce faux meat? The technology is necessary to mimic the muscle structure of actual meat, ideally offering a more realistic texture that can draw in meat lovers. According to company CEO Eshchar Ben-Shitrit in a statement to Reuters, the machines will produce around 44lbs of meat hourly next year, a number that will increase over time.

The faux steaks will first be tested with consumers by making them available at high-restaurants before firing up larger production and distribution. Assuming everything goes according to plan, however, we can expect Redefine Meat to start rolling out its products to meat distributors some time next year.

Public interest in plant-based food products has skyrocketed over the past few years, with consumers increasingly reported that they'd be willing to at least try faux meats. Historically speaking, these vegetarian options were less than appealing in terms of both flavor and texture, but new developments have paved the way for more realistic products.