Plant-based meat goes beyond burgers as vegan steaks hit the plate

The plant-based meat movement is rapidly evolving to provide animal-free alternatives to every type of meat. While plant-based brands like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods initially aimed to replace ground beef, which is easier to replicate given its lack of structure, now whole cuts of beef are getting the ground beef treatment. plants.

Juicy Marbles, a Slovenian company founded in 2020 by food technologist Tilen Travnik, microbiologist Luka Sincek and biotechnologist Maj Hrovat, is an emerging player in this new era of plant-based meat. The startup makes vegan filet mignon steaks by layering soy protein into linear fibers using the Meat-o-matic Reverse Grinder TM 9000, its patent-pending (and playfully named) technology that retro- engineers animal meat and improves it in terms of flavor longevity, juiciness retention, crust development and nutritional profile.

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And while the product is undoubtedly innovative, is there really a market for the whole vegan steak? It turns out there is. On May 8, Juicy Marbles made its vegan filet mignon available to US customers for the first time through what it calls a “meat leak.” Within eight hours, the company sold thousands of steaks to a sell-out success, despite a hefty price tag of around $40 per steak.

“What’s interesting about the challenge of fixing our food system is that the solutions have to protect both the environment and culinary traditions,” Vladimir Mićković, co-founder and CBO of Juicy Marbles, said in a statement. communicated. “The culture around meat is beautiful and should be preserved, because it brings us together to celebrate life and simply be together, present and alive. If we keep the culture and just remove the current means of production, we will have a great time in the future.

The current prices of Juicy Marbles are due to its small production capacity. However, the startup aims to drastically reduce the price of its steak below animal meat within one to two years.

Plant-based steak is coming to Michelin-starred restaurants

While Juicy Marbles has already found success in a direct-to-consumer approach, Israel-based Redefine Meats is tackling the high-end restaurant industry with its whole steak and lamb – dubbed “New-Meat”. – which he makes entirely from plants.

Founded in 2019, Redefine Meat uses breakthrough 3D technology that maps 70 sensory parameters to create a vegan cut of meat that mimics the taste, texture and juiciness of a whole cut of animal meat. To provide chefs with a variety of plant-based protein options, the company also produces culinary-grade ground beef, sausages, premium burgers and lamb skewers.

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Last year it raised $29 million to bring its innovative meats to international markets and landed in the restaurant business in Germany, the Netherlands and the UK, where Marco Pierre White, the first British chef to obtain three Michelin stars, presents New- Meat on the menu of its 22 steakhouses.

This week, Redefine entered into a new partnership with Classic Fine Foods, a premium retailer who will supply New-Meat to the UK culinary market, including restaurants, hotels and Michelin-starred eateries.

“Ever since Redefine Meat hit the UK scene, we’ve been watching them,” Ash Parkes, plant-based category manager at Classic Fine Foods, said in a statement. “Initially, Flank Cut products caught our eye, but seeing the exciting culinary potential of their ground meat products sealed the deal for our partnership. Our customers are looking for candidates that stand out for plant-based foods, while using something that will allow them to be creative. »

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Meatless Farm is getting into vegan steak

The Meatless Farm Co. is a UK-based brand that initially got into plant-based meats thanks to patterns that were easier to replicate. Now the company is launching a whole pea protein steak, made using its proprietary technology to mimic the taste and texture of beef steak. Launched to coincide with a rise in home steak consumption among UK consumers, Meatless Farm’s new plant-based steak is now hitting 125 locations across the Sainsbury’s supermarket chain at a relatively affordable £3.50 (4 $.41) for two fillets.

“Our new plant-based steak is our latest step in creating exciting and innovative new products and in diversifying the plant-based market,” Michael Hunter, managing director of Meatless Farm UK and Ireland, said in a statement. . “In response to consumer demand, we have brought another credible competitor to market to challenge the red meat industry. Many people enjoy a meal of steak, but red meat has the highest environmental impact, so we’ve created a plant-based version to help consumers enjoy a weeknight steak experience that delivers taste and texture while being better for the planet.

Vivera, a Dutch company acquired last year by JBS for $410 million, is another player in the emerging whole meat steak market, a strategic move that gives the Brazilian meat giant a bigger presence in the industry. vegetable.

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In the United States, the Colorado-based company Meati Foods is also trying to market its vegan steaks. Meati makes its steaks and chicken cutlets using mycelium, the fast-growing root system of fungi. After securing $28.2 million in Series A funding in 2020, the company is expanding production capacity with a new plant slated to open in September that will be able to produce 45 million pounds of vegan meat.

On a large scale, Meati says its growing process can produce the vegan meat equivalent of 4,500 cows every 24 hours and requires less than one percent of the water and land compared to industrial meat production. conventional.

For more on whole vegan meat, read: 100 Steakhouses Just Added Asia’s First “Whole” Vegan Steak
Startup raises $40 million to bring ‘whole’ vegan bacon to stores
New brand launches vegan chicken breasts and mushroom-based steaks

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Dino S. Williams