Meat alternatives are increasingly becoming mainstream and 3D printing businesses, such as Israel's Redefine Meat and Spain's Novameat, believe their technology can help improve plant-based products and speed up the manufacturing process. Such potential has seen both Redefine Meat and Novameat attract the backing of investors recently.
Coyne continues: “What these companies have now worked out is that their technology can help plant-based food manufacturers to make a better product,” said GlobalData Food Correspondent Andy Coyne. “This is a more practical and possibly faster-to-market use for the equipment.”
At the moment, most plant-based meat businesses use extruders to make their products, which generally do not allow them to create fibrous or “muscle-cut” meat substitutes, he said, adding that it means they are often reliant on ingredients that may be seen as unhealthy such as soy and wheat gluten.
By using 3D printing technology, the plant-based industry will be able to ditch these ingredients and use more fibrous options such as pea protein and rice protein, the 3D companies said.
“This is a classic case of the law of unforeseen circumstances. The 3D printing firms are on the cusp of solving a problem that they probably didn't know existed when they were perfecting their technology,” Coyne said.
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