Israel is a fake meat powerhouse

From plant equivalents to cultured cells, Israeli startups are winning the race to cruelty-free meat. But no one knows whether 3D-printed steaks are kosher


By Delle Chan, WIRED

6 April 2021


From Beyond Meat in Los Angeles to Impossible Foods in Silicon Valley, California could well be called the land of fake meat. Halfway across the globe, however, another hotbed of food tech innovation is emerging.


For such a small country, Israel has a disproportionately high number of alternative meat startups – over 50, according to Nir Goldstein, the managing director of the Good Food Institute Israel. This should come as no surprise: Israel’s startup ecosystem frequently ranks among the best in the world. But there is ample support for alt-meat innovation in particular. “The market is so hot that we don’t know of any alt-protein startup that hasn’t been able to raise seed funding,” says Goldstein. In addition, the Israeli government has funded two tech incubators, The Kitchen and Fresh Start, to provide companies with equity financing, business mentoring and more.


Most startups on the scene today are creating plant-based meat analogues – what Goldstein dubs “Meat 2.0”. For instance, Rilbite is developing a minced-meat alternative made from eight grains and vegetables, including rice and cranberries. Then there’s More Foods, which produces faux beef strips using a high-protein yeast blend. “Because we use different proteins than those traditionally used for meat alternatives, we are able to create a novel taste and texture, and focus on products that resemble whole-muscle cuts,” says founder Leonardo Marcovitz.


In a bid to create even more realistic forms of fake meat, some companies are turning to 3D printing – as Redefine Meat has done with its Alt-Steak product. To emulate the texture and structure of the real McCoy – tendons and all – the company has digitally mapped over 70 parameters of beef, including juiciness, fat distribution and mouthfeel. These are then replicated, layer by layer, using industrial-scale 3D food printers and plant-based ingredients...


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