“The Alt-Steak era”: Givaudan and Redefine Meat join forces to accelerate plant protein ecosystem
Redefine Meat will ramp up production of 3D meat printers and alternative meat formulations ahead of market distribution in 2021
01 Jul 2020 --- Givaudan is expanding its global innovation ecosystem with new partnerships to strengthen the Swiss flavor giant solutions for alternative protein products. Givaudan’s latest partnership with Redefine Meat, which has developed the world’s first Alt-Steak plant-based products using industrial 3D printing technology, is the latest step in accelerating its reach in plant proteins. These have the texture, flavor and appearance of beef steak and can be produced in the volume and cost to enable large-scale market launch.
Givaudan is building a global community of innovators, including industry partners, academia and start-ups including Redefine Meat, to augment its capabilities in alternative proteins. Givaudan maintains that collaboration plays a key role in diversifying innovation to unlock new opportunities in this rapidly expanding space.
“The shift toward plant-based meat alternatives and alternative protein sources is one of the greatest innovation opportunities in industry today,” says Fabio Campanile, Givaudan’s Global Head of Science and Technology, Flavours.
“No one company can solve these alone and we are partnering with the best and brightest minds in the industry to address the complex technical and taste challenges presented by these products. Our collaborations spark new, creative approaches, and create faster, more agile, innovation pipelines,” Campanile explains.
Alongside the collaboration, Redefine Meat is unveiling the world’s first Alt-Steak plant-based products, with market testing at select high-end restaurants to start later this year. Working with Redefine Meat, Givaudan is using its industry-leading capabilities in flavor and taste to make sure the new Alt-Steak product offers the same satisfying flavors, aromas and eating experience of real meat.
Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, Redefine Meat’s Co-Founder and CEO, Eshchar Ben-Shitrit, says that some start-ups look for small problems to solve in a big market. “We, like many others, look for big problems in giant markets. When evaluating a partner, we ask two questions – can they accelerate our speed of development dramatically? And do they have a unique expertise we don’t have and don’t want to have? If the answer is yes to at least one, partnering is a win-win.”
Ben-Shitrit believes the biggest opportunity in plant-based besides beef whole muscle cuts is pork.
The collaboration with Redefine Meat is the latest in a series of partnerships for Givaudan that focus on the development of alternative protein products. These include the Plant Meat Matters consortium, a global initiative, led by Wageningen University & Research (WUR), which is working to produce plant substitutes for beef and potentially other meat types such as pork or chicken, in the future.
The project uses WUR’s revolutionary Shear-Couette Cell technology that transforms vegetable protein into layered and fibrous structures that resemble real steak, not processed or ground meat. The collaboration brings together key industry players from across the entire supply chain, to scale up and commercialize this new technology.
Givaudan has also been exploring the protein space with University of California, Berkeley through the Product Development Program (PDP) in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. The PDP Program provides a unique opportunity to work collaboratively to tackle the technical challenges of designing and producing high-quality meat replacements. The most recent collaboration with PDP was a pioneering research project which identified the top six new up-and-coming sources of plant-based protein that could be game-changers for industry.
“F&B companies are increasingly aware of the need to collaborate to address the big challenges facing our industry this century. These include urgent issues such as climate change and nutrition,” adds Campanile. “By working together we can address these challenges faster and more effectively.”
A new era in meat alternatives?
Redefine Meat has digitally mapped more than 70 sensorial parameters into its Alt-Steak products, including premium beef cuts’ texture, juiciness, fat distribution and mouthfeel. Layer by layer, the company’s proprietary industrial-scale 3D food printers create the Alt-Steak products using Redefine Meat’s Alt-Muscle, Alt-Fat and Alt-Blood plant-based formulations. By printing with multiple materials, Redefine Meat can create sustainable, high-protein, no-cholesterol steaks that look, cook and taste like beef.
“Since day one of the company, we have been working on creating a tasty and affordable plant-based alternative to steaks, one of the most cherished food products and driver of the entire meat industry,” says Ben-Shitrit.
To enable mass adoption, Redefine Meat knew that creating an alternative meat product that was both high in quality and nutritional composition would require new technologies and production processes never seen before in industry.
This latest announcement marks the start of a new era in alternative meat – the Alt-Steak era – driven by production processes that will accelerate the development of a wide range of alt-meat whole muscle products and create a sustainable alternative to raising and eating animals, explains Ben-Shitrit.
“The importance of using precision 3D printing technology to achieve texture, color and flavor – and the combinations between them – cannot be overstated,” he asserts. “By using separate formulations for muscle, fat and blood, we can focus on each individual aspect of creating the perfect Alt-Steak product. This is unique to our 3D printing technology and lets us achieve unprecedented control of what happens inside the matrix of alt-meat. Collaborating with Givaudan has led to the creation of an Alt-Steak product that is not only healthy and sustainable, but also offers the satisfying experience of eating actual meat.”
The start-up also has several collaborations with ingredient companies who provide them with raw materials. “At present, we are shifting our focus to Go-To-Market collaboration in key countries, and not just R&D ones. Our approach requires finding a strong partner in each target country and working together on market-testing, pilot and launch,” adds Ben-Shitrit.
“In the next 20 years, industry will see a massive shift towards replacing animals in the food supply chain. It will happen in eggs, dairy and meat, but the biggest problem is no doubt meat,” he continues. The environmental impact we can achieve with meat reduction, especially beef, can be more dramatic in small-scale compared to a massive shift in eggs and dairy,” explains Ben-Shitrit. “The only way to accelerate this and make alternative meat meaningful are new technologies.”
Humanity has exhausted the potential of new recipes and new branding – we need something more drastic, he stresses. “The future is exciting – over the coming few years, innovative ingredients will be developed for 3D printed meat and then our products will only become even more tasty, healthier and better for the environment. This will be critical in achieving our objective to make meat products that meat-lovers embrace because it tastes great and just happens to be vegan,” Ben-Shitrit concludes.
Redefine Meat’s Alt-Steak products will be put to the test at a limited number of restaurants later this year. Incorporating feedback from high-level chefs and butchers, the company will then ramp up production of its 3D meat printers and alt-meat formulations ahead of market distribution in 2021.
By Elizabeth Green
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