Aleph Farms cultivates ribeye steak with 3D-Bioprinter

12 Feb 2021

Aleph Farms, the Israeli cultivated meat company, announced that it printed a ribeye steak using three-dimensional bioprinting technology. The slaughter-free steak is a follow-up to Aleph’s first attempt to print meat in 2018, when it revealed that it had created a thin-cut cultivated ribeye steak.

In a release, the company said that this latest iteration had the “attributes of a delicious tender, juicy ribeye steak you'd buy from the butcher” due to the cellular makeup of the slice of meat which “incorporates muscle and fat similar to its slaughtered counterpart.”

Aleph Farms cultivates ribeye steak with 3D-Bioprinter
Courtesy of Aleph Farms

In a release, the company said that this latest iteration had the “attributes of a delicious tender, juicy ribeye steak you'd buy from the butcher” due to the cellular makeup of the slice of meat which “incorporates muscle and fat similar to its slaughtered counterpart.”

Cell-based meat has been advancing at a rapid pace in recent years, and Aleph Farms has been particularly prolific in its contributions. Since its first cell-grown minute steak two years ago, the company has received substantial institutional funding support and has managed to produce cell-based meat on the International Space Station. Last year, the company agreed to bring lab-grown beef to Japan through a partnership with Mitsubishi Corp. Next year, the cell-based meat company is vying for placement on high-end restaurant menus.

However, the stakes are high for Aleph’s cell-based steak, which it said it can now create in varying thicknesses and textures to appeal to a wide variety of consumers. NovaMeat is another company that is working toward a similar goal, and in January, the company announced it had created the world’s largest piece of 3D-printed meat. Funding has also poured into the space with Mirai Foods becoming one of the most recent recipients, landing $2.7 million several weeks ago to expedite the commercialization of its cultured meat. Headway is also being made on the regulatory front. Late last year, Singapore announced that it approved the first commercial sale of cultured meat from San Francisco-based Eat Just.

Nevertheless, Aleph Farms is continuing to push ahead with its innovation. To further its mission of bringing cultured meat to commercialization, it created a platform called BioFarm that it intends to have fully operational by 2022. But having the ability to grow these steaks at scale is no small challenge for this sustainably-minded company. Its most recent breakthrough is thanks to its proprietary 3D bioprinting technology that prints actual bovine cells which are then incubated to grow, differentiate, and interact, in order to acquire the texture and qualities of a real steak. By allowing for a more natural development of the cells rather than simply printing them into the correct shape allows for a thicker tissue and a cellular structure that is similar to the native form found in livestock, according to Aleph Farms.

A sustainably grown steak will undoubtedly turn heads and pique the interest of many consumers. While plant-based meat sales are surging, the majority of those that eat meat alternatives are flexitarians, and therefore, also enjoy meat. If Aleph Farms can offer a sustainable solution at scale, it is likely that its steaks will gain traction with consumers.

Already, two-thirds of U.S. consumers are willing to eat cell-based meat, according to a 2019 study published in Frontiers in Nutrition, and research from that same year that explored the popularity of cell-based meat worldwide found that there is a strong appetite for cell-based meat and seafood options in Asia. In response, institutional investors and meat corporations alike have heavily invested in the technology.

To keep pace with the developments in the field of cultivated meat though, Aleph Farms will need to continue to work diligently to stay at the head of the pack and the front of headlines.

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