An Israeli company looking to revolutionize the food industry with a 3D printable meat alternative has taken a major step towards its goal. The company, Redefine Meat, has just raised $6 million, which will enable it to finalize the development of its alternative-meat 3D printer in preparation for its 2020 release.
The $6 million investment was raised in a funding round led by CPT Capital that also saw participation from Israel-based Hanaco Ventures, Israeli angel investors and, most interestingly, The PHW Group, Germany’s largest poultry company.
Founded in 2018, Redefine Meat was, like any meat substitute startups, inspired to make a difference in the food industry by offering a more sustainable alternative to meat—which is an environmentally taxing industry that has also come under heavy criticism for its poor treatment of animals. Though meat substitutes, such as Tofurky, have existed for a long time—they have not really come close to the texture and taste of meat. Recently, however, there has been a trend towards producing incredibly realistic meat alternatives, which eco-conscious meat eaters have generally welcomed.
Redefine Meat’s specific mission is to “offer a superior meat production technology that delivers products that are indistinguishable from high quality animal meat.” The use of 3D printing to produce this meat alternative—which sets Redefine Meat apart from companies like Beyond Meat—supposedly adds another layer of sustainability as it allows for a “highly productive and flexible 21st-century supply chain.”
The company’s technology, whose development will be accelerated thanks to the $6M in funding, consists of a proprietary semi-industrial 3D printing platform, a 3D meat modeling system and plant-based food formulations. The 3D printer allows for the plant-based ingredient to be deposited as a complex matrix that closely resembles the texture of meat.
The meat alternative is made from natural and sustainable ingredients that reportedly match the appearance, texture and flavor of real animal meat when printed. As a long-time vegetarian myself, I can’t say I’ve been seeking a hyper-realistic meat substitute, but it does sound like a promising option for meat eaters looking to reduce their carbon footprint! According to the company, the 3D printed “meat” has a 95% smaller environmental impact than animal meat (as well as no cholesterol).
Can you tell the difference?
Part of Redefine Meat’s business model will be to offer its technology to meat distributors and retailers so they can design meat to cater to seasonality, changing customer demands and preferences. To date, the company has worked with a number of chefs and butchers to create a number of realistic meat substitutes.
“Our goal is not just to develop a new food product, but to introduce a new technology for developing, producing and scaling alt-meat products,” said Eshchar Ben-Shitrit, Co-Founder and CEO at Redefine Meat. “We have already successfully printed great products for multiple foodie events, and over the coming 12 months, we will take the technology to the next level where we expect to make a huge impact on the meat market and the future of our planet. We’re delighted to have secured this investment, and to be working with high-quality investors, who share our vision and can support Redefine Meat on its path to become an industry leader.”
“Redefine Meat is a great fit with our portfolio of companies that are working to replace animals in the food supply chain.” commented Costa Yiannoulis, the CPT Capital Investment Director and new director of the Redefine Meat Board. “We are excited to partner with a company that leverages decades of digital printing experience to offer a fresh look at the way that meat will be produced. From very early on, it was clear that their unique approach has tremendous merits and has already produced some of the highest quality alternative meat products that we have ever encountered.”
Peter Wesjohann, CEO PHW Group, added: “There is currently no other company that has demonstrated such an impressive development in the field of 3D printed meat. the PHW Group sees Redefine Meat as a strategic investment, especially regarding the future product development for the European market and our broad distribution network.”