As a vegan, I have noticed meat eaters’ reluctance toward meat substitutes, with the most common complaint being that they just simply cannot replicate the taste of real meat. However, recent developments may bridge the gap between the taste of mycoprotein meat substitutes and real meat.
Mycoprotein is a common meat substitute made from fungus through the process of fermenting fungi spores with glucose and nutrients. The mycoprotein market is rapidly growing, with sales being estimated to double by 2027 from 2019. With environmental awareness becoming more widespread, the number of people choosing to supplement animal products with vegan alternatives is increasing, as evident in google search trends, veganism surpassed the term “meat” in 2016.
Peace of Meat has pioneered technology that allows for the creation of animal fat using stem cells. The company has begun a collaboration with MeaTech to create a hybrid meat substitute – one which combines mycoprotein and cultivated animal fat.
MeaTech has successfully created the largest 3D bio-printed steak to date, weighing in at 104 grams. This achievement is especially noteworthy given that the company did not use any plant fillers, contrary to popular practice within the field.
In mixing the two technologies, Peace of Meat and MeaTech may be overcoming the hurdles which have prevented cell-cultured meats from entering widespread markets, namely price.
Nonetheless, the progress in the manufacture of cell-cultured meats has been astounding in the last few years. Since 2013, the price of a lab-grown burger has gone from $330,000 to a mere $9,80. With innovations such as hybrid meat substitutes, cultured meat may become available to the average consumer within the foreseeable future.