The alternative meat industry just grew up

The alternative meat industry just grew up

Following four years as a biomedical engineer specialising in 3D printing of organs and tissue in Barcelona, Giuseppe Scionti had a radical idea for a different use for the technology: producing food.

Mr Scionti launched Novameat in 2018, patenting his microextrusion technology, where plant-based components are pushed through holes to form ultra-thin muscle-like fibres.

Once obsessed with optimising the mince-like patty of this plant-based burger, the other protein market is now turning its focus to more ambitious products whose textures are like real cuts of beef and chicken breast.

Unlike hamburger alternatives, for which textured plant proteins and other components such as vegetable oil are blended and moulded into a patty, cut meat products are produced by layering extruded fibres together with one another.

Companies like Novameat are leading the charge for plant-based start-ups, whose meats are made from legumes and grains like soy, peas and rice. Meanwhile, some cell-based groups that make meat from animal cells grown in vats are also at advanced stages of producing virtually textured products.