How Expensive Is 3D Printed Meat?
Additive manufacturing, also referred to as three-dimensional (3D) printing is a rapidly evolving industry that has greatly benefitted the food production industry. Some of these benefits include the capacity to modify food's nutrition, flavor, and texture and the economic viability of mass-producing low-cost food products.
According to research, meat demand is expected to continue to rise over time because more consumers are choosing meat-based goods for their distinct flavor, texture, and nutritional content. Thanks to advancement in technology, scientists have a chance at meeting this high demand for meat.
Nevertheless, alternative diets or food sources have been recommended to reduce overall meat consumption and assure sustainability in the future. This article looks closely at the alternative to natural grown meat —3D printed meat —and how sustainable it is for consumers in terms of costs and expense.
3D Printing Food History
Food Layered Manufacture (FLM), often known as 3D food printing, is an intriguing new approach to digital food preparation that applies the additive manufacturing process to food fabrication.
Before being printed, a food product is scanned or developed with computer-aided design software by breaking the planned object into tiny layers in the 3D food printing process. The layer template tells an electronically controlled XYZ-robotics system to build the object from the bottom up in layers.
Phase changes or chemical reactions fuse the layers together during building or in a different post-construction procedure. Sugar sculptures, chocolate, pasta, and easy-to-chew and swallow food products that were primarily aimed at elderly clients were among the first culinary products manufactured via 3D printing.
Sugar sculptures, chocolate, pasta, and easy-to-chew and swallow food products that were especially aimed for elderly clients were among the first culinary products manufactured via 3D printing. The 3D food printing method may also provide the consumer complete control over shape, flavor, color, texture, and nutrition for food customization.
Cornell University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology were the first to test 3D food printing technology (MIT). Cornell University researchers released the Fab@Home Model as a source code 3D printer design capable of printing structures out of liquid food material in 2007.
Cake icing, Nutella, caramel, and processed cheese were all printed with the Fab@Home. Three speculative ideas, including a virtuoso mixer, digital fabricator, and robotic chef, were shown by MIT in 2010. Several businesses and groups have since produced commercial devices.
What Is 3D Meat Made of?
The 3D food printing industry has a unique industrial-scale digital manufacturing technique that can perfectly replicate beef muscle structure. The meat products are manufactured from pea protein, soy, beets, chickpeas, and coconut oil, and are high in protein and cholesterol-free. They look, cook, feel, and taste like the real natural-bred meat.
Redefine Meat, an Israeli firm that creates 3D-printed plant-based meat products, has raised $135 million in additional funding to expand its production plants in Israel and the Netherlands, as well as grow its relationships with restaurants and cafes throughout the world.
Plantish, an Israeli startup that recently unveiled a plant-based whole-cut salmon fillet, is a leading startup in the plant-based meat sub-sector, which also includes standouts like SavorEat, a maker of organic meat using 3D technology (or additive manufacturing technology), and newcomer Plantish.
To "print" the steaks, Redefine Meat employs 3D printers and "ink." The company intends to sell the printers and cartridges to meat distributors worldwide, who will print and distribute the meat once it is made. To replicate the muscular feel of the substitute meat, the "ink" is constructed of plant-based materials such as legumes and grains; it also contains plant-based lipids to simulate beef fat and natural aromas and colors to mimic the blood element in meat and its juiciness.
While meat manufacturing is undoubtedly an intriguing notion, researchers have also introduced 3D printed chocolate, pancakes, a range of savory dishes, and so much more to our notice in recent years.
What Does 3D Printed Meat Taste Like?
Meatless vegan burgers and even ground beef are already famous. Still, a new food-tech start-up claims that their vegan "steak" may not only mislead your taste buds into believing you're eating beef, but also contribute to a more sustainable food supply.
Redefine Meat's R&D team initially studied genuine pieces of flesh, and they even built AI to monitor the feel of meat to mimic it. That's how they can imitate the appearance of a chunk of 'beef’.
According to the team, natural colors are fruit and vegetable extracts that were used to give the printed meat the usual hue of an animal product. In fact, there are tastes and other factors that contribute to the truly distinctive flavor that we obtain from animal-like flavor carriers.
On the surface, 3D printed vegan meat may appear unattractive, but the meat printing procedure is both organic and straightforward. Breaking down the components of meat into three primary components: blood, fat, and muscle is the most advanced way, and most industry pioneers adopt it. The components are then created utilizing a blend of plant-based extracts, natural flavorings, and colors that closely resemble the actual thing.
After cooling, the combinations are pureed and fed into a meat 3D printer. Design software is used to calculate the optimal proportion of each of the three main elements, split the meat into simulated layers, and instruct the 3D printer on the locations and portions of each component, which are each fed through a separate nozzle within the machine, similar to the process for 3D printing plastic or metal. It is then pressed to produce a more solid structure that can be cut, cooked, and served when the printing is completed.
Is 3D Printed Meat Expensive?
According to the Redefine team, Redefine Meat uses 3D printing technology, artificial intelligence, and material science to create meat replacements. The business can accurately duplicate the feel of the animal meat's muscle fibers and the juicy texture that consumers are familiar with, thanks to the combination of the two technologies.
3D-printed meat is currently being served in several restaurants around Europe. In London, Amsterdam, and Berlin, Redefine Meat's 3D printed meat (particularly steaks) is offered in select high-end restaurants. The pricing is a little high, considering these are high-end restaurants. The prices of steaks manufactured with 3D printing at White's and three other London restaurants range from £20 to £30 (about $26.50 to $39).
The business hopes to sell its items at high-end restaurants and in supermarkets, where more people will be able to purchase them. Although 3D printed meat is not a novel concept, it has failed to gain traction in public due to the prohibitively high initial cost.
In August 2021, scientists used 3D printing technology to manufacture "synthetic beef," which they claim tastes and feels similar to wagyu beef, which costs a crazy $200 per pound and, even more ridiculous, $30,000 for an entire cow.
Advantages of 3D Printed Meat
3D printed meat has different advantages and benefits to individuals and the food industry generally. Here are some of the advantages below:
- 3D printed meat is durable
To prevent hazardous germs from infesting meat, it must be maintained at low temperatures till it is consumed, necessitating significant refrigeration. With 3D printing, that expense is almost non-existent.
This is because the vegetable components used in 3D printing meat are significantly more resistant to microbial attack than traditional meat, needing far less refrigeration and staying much longer on store shelves and in consumer refrigerators before deteriorating.
Food waste is a severe problem worldwide; so, longer-lasting food might make a significant impact on the environment.
- It is sustainable and environmentally friendly
Growing the resources for 3D printing meat uses less water, land, and energy, lowering greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, 3D-printed beef uses significantly less resources. With ethical concerns being the primary reason for vegetarianism, slaughter-free 3D printed meat might entice vegetarians to return to the table.
Millions of cattle are murdered each year to feed our appetites, and 3D printing meat rather than murdering it would be one of humanity's most ethical achievements.
- It is more affordable
The reduction in production costs is one of the most significant advantages. Farmers might spend thousands of dollars a year on land, feeding, water, fencing, and other expenditures while raising farm animals for meat.
The actual cost of the plant materials required to manufacture 3D printed meat, on the other hand, is far cheaper than that of regular beef. Growing and collecting plant material for 3D printing, according to industry executives, will be substantially less expensive than raising cattle.
However, this is not the case right now. Redefine Meat will begin to sell its product for around $34 per pound, slightly more than the typical meat it will be competing with. However, as demand grows and technology improves, these costs will likely drop.
Personalization is more achievable in 3D printed meat which helps to cater to individual needs. Concerning technology, 3D printed meat can be personalized based on the proportion of meat components; fat, blood, and muscles. For seniors, who need a lesser fat proportion in their food, the fat portion of the complete components can be reduced to suit their needs.
There is much more flexibility associated with 3D printing food generally because it allows for more complicated designs to be designed and printed than traditional production procedures. This applies to 3D printing meat as well; you can incorporate other interesting and nutritional materials into it as it is being printed.
According to Redefine Meat's official website, their technology is powerful enough that customers may construct their own unique meat using an on-site configurator. Customers may adjust a few sliders, such as the weight, fat intake, and nutritional quality of the meat, and choose the precise sort of meat they want using the configurator.
Disadvantages of 3D Printed Meat
Although 3D printed meat has a lot of potential and benefits, there are some disadvantages associated with it. Some of which include:
- It has the potential to be unpleasant
For some, just the thought of a vegan steak, specifically one created using a 3D printer, is enough to scare them off. Fundamentally, this is a perception issue, and the only way to change perspective is to demonstrate it.
Such perceptions are likely to alter as 3D printing meat grows increasingly, with more people eating and loving 3D printed steaks and chicken. It may not persuade people to switch to 3D printed beef completely, but it may spark their imaginations.
- It is Expensive
Any new technological achievement comes with a price tag, and 3D printed meat is no exception. Because production capacities are currently limited, what is produced is costly till manufacturing levels increase and expenses are reduced. Novameat 3D printed meat is now more expensive than real meat, which is a drawback for those seeking meatless options. 3D-printed meats are currently unable to compete in price with traditional meat-raising procedures despite being more ethical and slaughter-free.
The 3D printing process for meat is tailored towards making meat readily available and also decreasing the cost. But the cost part of the goal has not been achieved because this technology has not been entirely accepted. Therefore, 3D-printed meat is generally expensive than the traditional meat. However, we expect the price to drop as it gains more popularity globally.
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