Unique collaboration between two companies to develop vegan fish and shellfish alternatives using 3D printing and mycoprotein.
Interest in actual alternatives to meat, fish and shellfish is increasing among consumers, but the most sought-after products such as whole steaks and fish fillets are still far from easy to produce. The most promising technology for creating these high value products is considered to be 3D printing.
Ingredients such as mycoprotein, due to their naturally fibrous texture, are of great interest for the production of whole cuts and fillets, however, the fibrous structure can be challenging for process methods such as 3D printing.
Therefore, Swedish Mycorena, pioneers in mycoprotein technology, and Austrian Revo Foods, pioneers in 3D printing of food, have now started a research collaboration. The goal of the collaboration is to explore the possibilities of using Mycorena’s unique mycoprotein, specially adapted for increased suitability for 3D printing, with a particular focus on developing vegan options for fish and shellfish.
New segment with realistic meat substitutes
By combining the meat-like properties of the mycoprotein with the unlimited shaping possibilities of 3D printing, it is possible to develop a completely new segment with realistic meat substitutes. The goal is to significantly reduce the gap between animal and non-animal products in order to enable the transition to the consumption of meat alternatives to a greater extent.
Just like Mycorena’s flagship product Promyc, the printable mycoprotein will have a soft fibrous texture, light color and neutral taste. That makes the mycoingredient an excellent alternative to meat analogues, and especially seafood alternatives.
‘We have always been interested in 3D printing food, and saw that by creating a printable material from mycelium, we could open new doors for amazing and unique products. With this technology, the possibilities for texture and shape are at a whole new level compared to current meat analogues. The only limitations are in imagination, not in process methods,‘ says Paulo Teixeira, CIO at Mycorena.
Already created salmon and tuna options
Revo Foods is an Austrian company in the food industry that develops new process technologies, including 3D printing, for high-quality plant-based fish and shellfish products. Some of the company’s first products include salmon and tuna alternatives which are already sold in over 3,000 stores around Europe, making Revo Foods one of the market leaders in plant-based seafood alternatives.
It also means that Revo Foods is an ideal partner for Mycorena to bring its innovations to market as soon as possible. In a project collaboration, Revo Foods and Mycorena will investigate the possibilities of using mycoprotein to develop new fish and shellfish alternatives through 3D printing.
‘Mycoprotein is a very interesting ingredient for developing vegan seafood alternatives, however we have been limited in our use of it in our 3D printing process due to the impact of the fibrous behavior. In our new collaboration with Mycorena, we see great potential in further developing the printable mycoprotein and thus raising both meat and fish alternatives to a new level of quality, which is needed for consumers on a large scale to be interested,’ says Robin Simsa, CEO at Revo Foods.
Compared to more traditional production methods such as injection molding or extrusion, 3D printing has superior advantages in being able to create complex products with much more realistic sensory properties and better mouthfeel. Furthermore, it eliminates the need for costly tools and can reduce both the need for storage space and time consumption through the ability to produce on demand instead of in batches.
A common limitation of the technology is linked to material supply, as 3D printers can often only print masses or mixtures of a certain consistency. The possibility of producing printed products with a fibrous texture therefore makes Mycorena’s new ingredient an extremely promising material for food producers.
‘We are very happy to finally be able to present our collaboration with Revo Foods. We believe we can create some truly unique products together that will make it easy for consumers to enjoy great seafood products in a sustainable and healthy way,’ says Kristina Karlsson, R&D Manager at Mycorena.
Both 3D printing as a technology and mycoprotein as a material are hot trends in FoodTech. The combination of the two is a whole new area of development that is yet to be properly explored.