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INSIGHTS / INTERVIEWS

Novameat: 3D printing tech to develop meat substitute products

Spain · Mar 27, 2019· By Emanuela Ferraro

Novameat's demo at 4YFN

Italian scientist Giuseppe Scionti has repurposed bioprinting technology used to create an artificial human ear to develop a plant-based "steak"

Barcelona-based Novameat has developed the first plant-based micro-extruded fibrous meat using 3D bioprinting technology. Although there are many meat substitute products already on the market, Novameat says its product is the first to have a texture that is akin to that of a real steak. 

As consumers around the world shift their food consumption habits away from meat, demand for meat substitute products is growing significantly. In the United States - where nearly eight in 10 millennials eat meat alternatives - sales of meat substitutes rose 30% in the year to April 2018. Californian startup Beyond Meat, backed by Bill Gates and Leonardo DiCaprio, has announced it hopes to raise US$100 million in its IPO.

Elsewhere, China has declared a plan to cut meat consumption in half by 2030. In Europe, launches of meat substitute products rose more than fourfold between 2013 and 2017 and multinational FMCG companies are moving fast to get ahead of the curve. Anglo-Dutch conglomerate Unilever acquired Dutch meat substitute manufacturer The Vegetarian Butcher and Nestle has announced the launch of a meat-free burger under the Gourmet Garden brand.  

But perhaps surprisingly, demand for meat substitute products is not especially being driven by vegans and vegetarians. Concerns about the impact of livestock emissions on the climate have given rise to so-called "flexitarians," the term used for those who reduce their intake of meat in the pursuit of a healthier plant-based diet, and as a means of reducing their carbon footprint. In Britain, some 21% of consumers identify as flexitarians, and a third eat meat-free or meat-reduced diets. 

Speaking to CompassList at the 2019 edition of 4YFN, Novameat founder and inventor Giuseppe Scionti outlined how he plans to take his invention from development to mass production in the hope it will become the "Nespresso for meat substitutes." 

This interview was conducted in Italian and translated by CompassList. It has been condensed and edited for clarity.

Edited by Sophie Douez

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