Veggie burgers have been around for years. If you have any vegetarian or vegan friends, you’ve seen them eating their sprouts or maybe even tasted some of their flavored soy. If you hated it, you’re not alone. Lots of people have tasted those frozen veggie burgers and gagged, especially the ones made years ago. But changes are coming. The meatless market has exploded recently, and big changes have rocked this trend. Meat alternatives taste so good these days, you can even get them at restaurants and fast food chains. What’s the next step in this revolution? Steaks. One company is hoping to Redefine Meat…and it may just succeed.

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cattle on a farm

Is beef bad?

Many people are turning to meatless options, because beef is incredibly bad for the environment. The huge cattle farms, slaughterhouses and related meat industry businesses create big problems for our planet. That’s why Redefine Meat hopes to change the game.

Related: What do Americans think about fake meat products

There are about 1 billion cows being raised for beef and dairy on the planet right at this moment. These cows drink more water than all the humans on the planet combined and produce more pollution than all of the cars on the roads. To gain 1 pound of meat, cows must consume about 7 pounds of feed — grains that could be used to feed humans. That’s not a very efficient use of food, is it?

When you start to think about the environmental impact of the meat market, plant-based options are probably starting to look a whole lot better. Thanks to companies like Redefine Meat, those plant-based options are starting to taste much better, too.

3D-printed steak and fresh vegetables on white plate

Redefining a favorite

Redefine Meat is using 3D-printing to create plant-based “Alt-Steaks” that look and taste just as amazing as the real thing. It’s an ambitious undertaking. Mimicking the texture and taste of beef is so difficult, companies have only recently mastered the process well enough to get meatless options into fast food chains. Any meat-eater knows that there’s a world of difference between the taste and texture of steak as compared to ground beef. It’s way easier to fake ground beef than it is to fake a juicy steak — isn’t it?

Steak is marbled with fat, which gives it that wonderful texture that meat-eaters love. It’s an entirely different texture and flavor profile than what you’ll get with a standard burger. But Redefine Meat is using 3D-printer technology to copy the texture and flavor of real, marbled meat. The company’s goal is to perfect and speed up the process of creating plant-based steaks so they will be even cheaper than real meat.

3D-printing in process

The 3D-printing revolution

3D-printing is starting to be applied to all sorts of industries in amazing ways that were unthinkable just 10 years ago. This technology is already being used to manufacture athletic shoes, airplane parts and medical devices. Redefine Meat is using 3D-printing to recreate the muscles and fat found in real meats to give plant-based meats the same texture and taste as beef without all of the environmental problems that are associated with the meat industry. Redefine Meat’s Alt-Steak has no cholesterol and a 95% smaller environmental impact than the exact same amount of meat.

“The importance of using precision 3D printing technology to achieve texture, color and flavor — and the combinations between them — cannot be overstated,” said Eshchar Ben-Shitrit, CEO and co-founder of Redefine Meat. “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 an industry-leader like Givaudan has led to the creation of an Alt-Steak product that is not only healthy and sustainable, but also offers the satisfying flavors, textures and aromas of eating actual meat.”

Transforming plants into steak might sound like science-fiction, but it is an innovative approach to shaking up the meat industry. Companies like Redefine Meat are hoping to change the way people think about meat. Because when a steak from a plant can taste just as good as a steak from a cow, why not choose the option that is better for the planet? As the meatless revolution continues, options like this will become more and more available. Perhaps soon, the “meat” industry will be completely plant-based.

+ Redefine Meat

Via Core77

Images via Redefine Meat, René Schindler and Lutz Peter