MailOnline has tried the world’s first plant-based filet mignon steak – and it’s surprisingly close to the real thing.
Created by a Slovenian company called Juicy Marbles, the sirloin steak contains fat made from sunflower oil and soy protein that mimics real flesh.
Rather than using 3D printing or scaffolding, Juicy Marbles uses a patent-pending machine to align layers of protein “fibers” from bottom to top.
This results in a texture that mimics the fibers found in beef tissue, resulting in juicy bits that “gently break away”.
However, the product fetches a nice price worthy of a real filet mignon; Unless you’re buying in bulk, each 113g Juicy Marbles steak costs nearly £10 each.
Juicy Marbles states on its website: “The experience is exquisite. The texture is firm, but velvety’
Juicy Marbles uses a machine called “Meat-o-Matic 9000”, which layers proteins into linear fibers, mimicking muscle structures
JUICY STEAK FILET MIGNON WITH MARBLE
- soy protein
- wheat protein
- Sunflower oil
- Beet powder
- Yeast extract
- The iron
- Vitamin B12
- Thickeners and emulsifiers
Nutrition (per 113 g of steak):
- Energy: 193 kcal
- Fat: 7.1g
- Carbohydrates: 2g
- Protein: 26g
Juicy Marbles states on its website: “The experience is exquisite. The texture is firm but velvety. As juicy chunks gently tear apart, one can begin to question reality. It can be described as scrumptious, scrumptious or even outrageous.
Tenderloin is a cut of meat from the smaller end of the cow’s tenderloin – the long, narrow, lean muscle found in the loin.
Filet mignon is a prized cut because this particular piece of muscle does not support any weight, so it is naturally soft and tender.
To replicate the luxurious consistency of filet mignon, Juicy Marbles does not use 3D printing, or grow it in a lab, unlike other current methods.
Instead, he uses a mysterious machine called the “Meat-o-Matic 9000,” which layers protein into linear fibers, mimicking muscle structures.
The main fiber ingredients are water, soy protein, wheat protein, salt and beetroot powder, which reproduces the dark pink color of cow’s flesh correctly, without bleeding.
Juicy Marbles also used sunflower oil to replicate the marbling of a filet mignon steak – the creamy white web of fat that makes beef so juicy.
Juicy Marbles’ product also has a similar calorie count to real filet mignon – 100g is around 170kcal for each.
The first thing that struck me after taking the plant-based filet mignon steak out of the package was the texture – it’s flabby and a bit moist, just like beef.
Again, just like the real thing, Juicy Marbles Filet Mignon is best sprinkled with salt before cooking.
Tenderloin is a cut of meat from the smaller end of the cow tenderloin – the long, narrow, lean muscle located in the loin
A four-pack of plant-based tenderloin steaks is shrink-wrapped and could easily be mistaken for beef based on appearance alone.
EATING MEAT AND DAIRY HARMS THE PLANET, SAY SCIENTISTS
According to scientists, eating meat and dairy products at the current rate of consumption is accelerating global warming.
Cows, pigs and other farm animals release huge amounts of methane into the atmosphere. Methane is about 25 times more effective than carbon dioxide at trapping heat.
Raising livestock also means converting forests to farmland, which means CO2-absorbing trees are cut down, further fueling global warming. More trees are being felled to convert land to cropping, as around a third of all grain produced globally is used to feed animals raised for human consumption.
On top of that, nitrogen-based fertilizer used on crops adds to nitrous oxide emissions. Nitrous oxide is about 300 times more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere.
I seared four steaks in hot oil that was lightly smoking so the outside quickly took on a nice brown crust.
Cooking the plant-based steaks only took a few minutes on each side. I served them with a very basic side dish – chips, peas and tomato relish – which probably didn’t do the product justice.
In fact, my fries were slightly undercooked because I was so desperate to eat my meal and test the steaks.
The best thing about the Juicy Marbles Steak was undoubtedly the texture – the way the individual fibers fall apart easily was extraordinarily similar to the fibers of beef.
The lines of sunflower oil grease are also laid out so that the inside stays moist and gives the steak a rich, succulent mouthfeel.
As for the flavors, there’s a very subtle hint of soy in the flesh, as you’d expect, but the seared crispy crust on the outside is very deep and meaty.
At the table, I really don’t think many would be able to say that this ‘steak’ is animal-free, especially if you’ve covered it with a hearty jus of red wine or pepper sauce.
Unfortunately, the plant-based filet mignon doesn’t come cheap – a four-pack of 113g steaks, including postage, is €45, or £38.50.
Shoppers have the option of saving money if they buy in bulk – four packs of four (so 16 steaks in total) cost €96 (£82), including postage.
That equates to just over £5 per steak, which is about the price you’d pay for a half-decent beef steak in the supermarket.
I served the Juicy Marbles steaks with a simple side – fries, peas and tomato relish
Definitely the best thing about the Juicy Marbles steak was the texture – the fake meat crumbles
Is it worth it? I would say roughly. If you are hosting a dinner party, your vegan or vegetarian friends will be really excited to try this product, especially if they ate meat and still have occasional food cravings.
Otherwise, feed them to all your carnivorous friends, listen to them rave about how it’s the best cut of meat they’ve ever tasted, then shock them by telling them it’s vegan. .
I’m not a vegan or even a vegetarian, but I do believe in a future where animal flesh has been replaced with ethical, eco-friendly, plant-based, and lab-grown options.
Juicy Marbles is clearly pushing the envelope with its product, which could be the key to getting meat addicts to cut back.
Even though eating meat at the current rate of consumption has been linked to global warming, the UK government has no plans to tell people to cut back on their consumption.
Earlier this month, Environment Secretary George Eustice said the government would not force the public to stop eating meat for environmental reasons because humans are “ultimately omnivores”.
HUMAN CELLS TAKE UP LESS PROTEIN FROM PLANT MEAT, STUDY SAYS
Protein-rich plants, like soy, are common ingredients in vegan burgers and sausages.
But a new study shows that the proteins in these plant substitutes are not as accessible to human cells as those in meat.
The authors of the study, at Ohio State University, say this knowledge could eventually be used to develop healthier products.
To mimic the look and texture of beef, chicken, and other meats, the botanicals are dehydrated into a powder and mixed with seasonings.
Then the mixtures are usually heated, moistened and processed in an extruder.
These products are often considered healthier than animal meats because the plants used to make them are high in protein and low in unwanted fats.
However, lab tests have shown that the proteins in alternatives don’t break down into peptides as well as those in meats.
Peptides are short chains of amino acids described as the “building blocks” of hormones, toxins, proteins, enzymes, cells and tissues.
For their study, the researchers tested whether human cells can absorb similar amounts of peptides from a model meat alternative as they can from a piece of chicken.
They created a model meat alternative made from soy and wheat gluten. When opened, the material had long, fibrous bits inside, just like chicken.
Cooked chunks of the substitute and chicken meat were then ground up and broken down with an enzyme that humans use to digest food.
In vitro tests showed that the meat substitute peptides were less water soluble than those from chicken, nor were they absorbed as well by human cells.
With this new understanding, the researchers say the next step is to identify other ingredients that might help boost the absorption of plant-based meat substitute peptides.
The study was published Wednesday, June 22 in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.