The world's first 3D printed 'steak' has been invented - would you try it?
A Barcelona-based company called Nova Meat has just "reinvented" plant-based 'meat' by using a 3D printer to recreate a meaty texture.
Technically called "additive manufacturing", a 3D printer builds products from the ground up in layers, and can use various materials such as plastics, metal, and now food.
Since 3D printers build items by crisscrossing layers - much like the biological makeup of proteins and muscle tissue - this may be the next step in making a plant based alternative to steaks.
Guiseppe Scionti, founder of Nova Meat said, "This strategy allows us to define the resulting texture in terms of chewiness and tensile and compression resistance, and to mimic the taste and nutritional properties of a variety of meat and seafood, as well as their appearance.
"The current livestock system is unsustainable for the environment, and it's important to find a solution to this important problem."
What is 3D printed beef?
There are other types of plant-based meat alternatives such as soy bean burgers which provide the texture of meat but lack the taste, whereas plant-based burgers taste like meat, but lack the texture.
However, since 3D printing builds products layer by layer, it can use plant based substances and create the texture of natural meat whilst keeping the taste.
Inventors like Scionti are pushing these products into supermarkets, with the idea that restaurants may be able to print their own 'steaks', made to order.
Isn't 3D printing a long way off?
In fact, 3D printing has been a large part of many industries for a few years now. For example, almost all new hearing aids are made by 3D printer.
Last month, a cat in Russia was given new 3D printed paws after it lost them to frostbite. The International Space Station uses one to build replacement parts, and the technology is being widely used to enhance medicine, as well as heavy industry.
In 2018, 1.4 million 3D printers were sold worldwide and the business consulting firm, Grand View Research, estimates that will rise to eight million by 2027.