By Editor Morten B. Reitoft
For years, it's been possible to find plant-based "meat" in many supermarkets and restaurants. Though most consumers today understand why alternatives are needed, taste, habits, culture, convenience, and more have made products like Beyond Meat something still consumed by relatively few people. Vegans and Vegetarians may be one segment in the market for meat alternatives, but not really since these consumers have already made an active choice and have learned to prepare food without meat for years.
To convince consumers about the alternatives, a company like Beyond Meat made their plant-based meat bleeding - and though the juiciness of a burger plays a role, taste and texture maybe play an evenly colossal role. Most consumers accept animals in today's gigantic industry of pork, beef, and chicken. Even more, close their eyes to the conditions these animals often live under, so what would make people change from animal meat to plant-based "meat?"Redefine Meat is a startup company in Israel, and usually, INKISH doesn't write/film about industries not related to print. However, Redefine Meat has strings into the printing industry since the board's Chairman is Alon Bar-Shany, the former GM of HP Indigo. Redefine Meat also, as the name indicated, redefines the very process of plant-based meat by "printing" the meat in machines that looks more like a modern digital printer than anything else. The "ink" or consumable is carefully produced from almost 100% plant-based protein, called the "muscle," fat (actually two types - the yellowish softer fat and the harder white fat) made of coconut, and finally, the "blood" made of various berries and died red to assemble the color of blood. With these ingredients, the printer can now print "meat."
The structure of the 'meat' is actually printed. As we saw when visiting Redefine Meat in a very compact and busy office/lab in Tel Aviv, the structure is complex meat-based structures crafted from analyzing real meat. The technology is simply amazing, and from the yet not 100% ready machines - referred to as "cows," you on a simple to use interface select what cut you want, how much fat you want, and basically create meat according to your requirements.We didn't see complex meat such as steaks, but we saw the production of ground meat. When Jan Majnik (vegan) and I (non-vegan) went to an Asian-style restaurant, we saw how the food was prepared, a really, really good food experience, and for the first time ever, I got an experience that could fool me anytime!
The idea of assembling the meat from consumables that assemble the natural ingredients is, in my mind, brilliant. Researching how meat is formed by nature and seeing if this can be recreated in 3D is also brilliant!I get it if you are skeptical about Redefine Meat and the other alternatives. I have purchased alternative meat products in the past years, and I have never found the taste, the texture, the properties similar to the real deal. With Redefine Meat, I believe they are onto something huge.
The company has got investors. They have a clear vision. They have the product, and I take it was easy for Alon Bar-Shany to accept a chairman position and see if he can help bring the company to market globally. The founder Eshchar Ben-Shitrit has a past at HP and Highcon, yet a "string" back to the printing industry.Redefine Meat, however, is not a product or technology aimed at the printing industry. Their business model is to build "stables" to produce the meat, pack it, and sell it to restaurants and retail. In the film we will soon present on INKISH, you can hear a longer interview with Eshchar Ben-Shitrit about the background and potential.
You can also hear more about how the company sees itself in a heavily subsidized conventional market, the environmental impact, the cost of Redefine Meat products, and the future opportunities.