Once focused on vegan burgers, alt-protein industry sets sights on grain- and cell-based chicken, steak

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After four years as a biomedical engineer specializing in 3D printing of tissue and organs in Barcelona, Giuseppe Scionti had a radical idea for another use for the technology: creating food.

In 2018, Scionti launched Novameat, patenting his “microextrusion” technology, in which plant-based ingredients are pushed through holes to form ultra-thin muscle-like fibers.

Once preoccupied with perfecting the mince-like patty of the plant-based burger, the alternative protein industry is now turning its attention to more ambitious products whose textures are like actual “cuts” of steak and chicken breast ….

Companies such as Novameat are leading the charge for plant-based start-ups, whose “meats” are made from legumes and grains …. Meanwhile, some “cell-based” groups—which produce meat from animal cells grown in vats—are also at advanced stages of producing realistically textured products.

Related article:  Beyond Meat launches plant-based pork in bid to outcompete Impossible Foods in China

While consumer enthusiasm over plant-based meat continues to grow, it is still a nascent category, accounting for just 1 percent of overall US meat sales …. A recent survey of 500 Americans …. found that 40 per cent described the products as “scary” ….

Investors are undeterred, even flocking to the more ambitious cell-based meat industry …. Compared to 2016, when there were only two companies working on creating meat from cells, more than 60 startups exist today ….

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