Swedish Mycoprotein pioneer Mycorena and the Austrian 3D food printing pioneer Revo Foods have started a research collaboration to explore the suitability of Mycorena’s previously developed and adapted mycoprotein, better suitable for 3D food printing, with a special focus on vegan alternatives for seafood and whole cut products.
Meat and seafood alternatives are gaining increased traction from consumers. However, the most attractive options such as whole-cut steak or fish fillet are still difficult to produce. 3D food printing is seen as the most promising technology for producing these high-value products. Healthy vegan ingredients, such as mycoprotein, are of main interest for the production of whole-cut alternatives due to their inherent fibrous behavior. This fibrous behavior, however, could however be challenging for processing methods such as 3D food printing.
“We have always been interested in food 3D printing and saw that creating a printable mycelium material would probably open doors to creating amazing, unique products. With this technology, the possibilities for texture and form are on another level compared to current meat analogues, being restricted only by imagination, not processing methods,” said Paulo Teixeira, CIO at Mycorena.
By combining the meat-like properties of mycoprotein with the unrestricted shaping possibilities of 3D food printing, a whole new realistic meat-like product segment can be created. The aim is to significantly narrow the gap between animal products and plant-based or vegan alternatives, leading to wider adoption of meat alternatives in the market. Like Mycorena’s current mycoprotein ingredient Promyc, the printable mycoprotein will have a soft fibrous texture, light color and neutral taste, making it an excellent option for meat analogs, especially seafood alternatives.
Revo Foods is an Austrian company developing new food processing technologies for high-quality plant-based seafood products, including 3D food printing. Some of the company’s first products include salmon and tuna alternatives and are already sold in more than 3000 locations across Europe, making Revo Foods one of the leaders in plant-based seafood. This makes Revo Foods an ideal partner for Mycorena to bring its innovation to the market at the fastest possible pace. In a collaborative project, Revo Foods and Mycorena will explore the use of mycoprotein for 3D food printing to develop new seafood alternatives.
“Mycoprotein is a very interesting ingredient for vegan seafood alternatives, however, we were previously limited in using it in our proprietary 3D food printing process as the fibrous behaviour was altered. With this new collaboration with Mycorena, we see huge potential to develop the printable mycoprotein further, which can lift meat/seafood alternatives to the next quality level, necessary for large-scale consumer adoption,” said Robin Simsa, CEO at Revo Foods.
The advantage of food 3D printing compared to the more traditional production methods, such as extrusion or molding, is the creation of complex products with much more realistic sensory properties and mouthfeel. This eliminates the need for expensive tooling and can reduce storage space and time by being able to produce on demand instead of batch-wise. One common limitation of the technique is related to the material selection as printers often only can print paste or mixtures with the right fluidity, making printed products with a fibrous texture, such as Promyc, an extremely promising ingredient for food producers.
“We are very excited to finally reveal our collaboration with Revo Foods. We believe we will create some truly unique products here, making it easy for consumers to enjoy delicious seafood in a healthy and sustainable way,’’ commented Kristina Karlsson, R&D Manager at Mycorena.
3D Food Printing and mycoprotein are both hot trends in FoodTech, as a technique and materials on their own, making the combination of the two a brand-new field of development that is yet to be properly explored in the sector of alternative protein.