Israeli startup Redefine Meat has introduced its plant-based “Alt-Steak™”, promising a “delicious and tasty food product” that probably doesn’t also feature a bleep-bloop audio cue but I guess you can make your own.
Until now, beef substitutes have been mostly limited to mince and sausage products, for obvious reasons – replicating the much more complex texture and flavour of a rib-eye or sirloin with soybean or pea proteins is a problem. Replicating the appetising aesthetic, even more so, but one thing at a time.
“We analysed the different components that make those beautiful cuts and we identified three main components – the muscle, the blood, and the fat,” the company’s food engineer Alexey Tomsov tells Business Insider. “These are the components that we need to mimic in order to reach the perfect beautiful steak.”
“At the end of the day, technology is important, but what’s more interesting is to have a really delicious and tasty food product that you can cut through and have a bite, and be excited,” adds Redefine Meat CEO Ben-Shitrit.
From an abstract clinical lab perspective, maybe, but what about the smug validation of being the planet’s apex predator, the meat that has subjugated the other meats with ingenuity and industrial agriculture and a cheeky indifference to the ecological and biodiversity consequences? I think that’s important too. Medium rare, please.
For real, though, the development of plant-based analogues is perhaps one of the most necessary innovations of the future, what with the questionable ethics of mass farming and the increasingly bleak prospects of climate change and the inexorable extinction of everything. But I’m not convinced that this sort of simulated meat is the solution. A 3D-printed vegan steak is a compelling technological novelty in the moment, maybe, but it’s also kind of… gross. Gimme a grilled mushroom or roasted aubergine instead.