4th Min read
There is no shortage of vegetable meatballs, sausages and burger patties on the shelves of shops these days. But now consumers are looking for more – and grocery brands know that. For many, the next “frontier” of vegan meat will be in whole-cut products that mimic the texture and mouthfeel of meat like steak. And a new startup says it’s here to fill the void.
Alfred’s FoodTech, based in Israel, has developed a new production platform dedicated to the production of full cut meat alternatives. Combining 3D printing with extrusion technology, the company says its platform can create bespoke full-cut vegan meat alternatives with the same fibrous texture as the original.
The startup based in Modi’In was only founded at the beginning of this year. Its technology is capable of constructing continuous fabric-like structures to form a finished full-cut product. Customers can use the platform to manufacture tailor-made products that adapt everything from the ingredients used to the shape and the desired fiber structure.
So far, the company has developed prototypes of plant-based deli meat and chicken nugget alternatives with its manufacturing technology, which is made from pea protein and rapeseed oil. But the company, which is receiving $ 1.3 million in startup funding, says it can use other cell-based ingredients to make hybrid proteins – and is already in talks with some grower meat companies as well as “various international food companies.” . .
“Our technology only uses simple ingredients like pea protein and rapeseed oil. Still, with protein sources of their choice, including cell-based ingredients, we can develop tailor-made compositions for food companies, ”said Co-Founder and CEO Ronny Reinberg.
Reinberg’s grandfather Alfred worked in the meat industry – and Alfred’s FoodTech is an ode to the continuation of a family tradition, but which is being reinterpreted with sustainable new technologies.
“With Alfred’s versatile technology, any food company can easily create alternative products that give consumers the exact experience of real meat and poultry.”
Make full-cut analogues a reality
According to Reinberg, Alfred’s mission is to help brands across the food industry, be it a start-up or large CPG companies, develop the products that consumers are increasingly demanding.
“Vegetable full-cut products that are similar to meat are the ‘holy grail’ of the industry,” said the CEO.
Together with co-founder and COO Rafi Shavit, the company’s technology was developed to be scalable and easy to integrate into the existing food processing infrastructure. This means shorter timeframes from product development to product launch.
“We were founded with the goal of empowering food companies and innovators in the alternative protein landscape,” says Shavit, who described Alfred’s platform as a “motor” for other food brands to create better tasting products for the mass consumer.
Achieving whole cuts is the next step for brands, Shavit said, especially if they want to keep mainstream flexitarians motivated to minimize their meat and milk consumption. Current statistics show that the number of flexitarians worldwide has skyrocketed, accounting for up to 42% of the market.
The complete mission
Alfred’s isn’t the only startup working on alternatives to whole sliced meat, although it stands out as one of the few that focuses on offering a B2B solution to help other brands make these products.
Israeli food technician Redefine Meat recently launched a range of vegan meat products in collaboration with restaurants across the country, before aiming to launch a 3D-printed whole-cut meat range by the end of 2021.
Over in the US, players like AtLast and Meati Foods are using mushroom mycelium to make whole sliced meat, with the former known for its iconic vegan bacon alternative, while Meati is known for its meat-like jerky meat and realistic vegetable-based chicken fillets.
All images courtesy of Alfred’s FoodTech.