Homes, furniture, and footwear are among the things available on the 3D printing market. Now, at least in Europe, salmon can be added to the list.
In Vienna, Austria, a few grocery stores began selling 3D-printed vegan salmon fillets in September. This month, the foodtech business Revo Foods started an online site that sends the product to most of Europe.
“It flakes very nicely into layers just like salmon,” Robin Simsa, the CEO of Revo Foods, told Insider. “It also has a similar taste, but like any meat alternative, it’s not 100% the same.”
This is a significant development for the emerging alternative seafood sector, which is experimenting with a wide range of ingredients and manufacturing techniques to create goods that don’t damage ocean ecosystems. While some firms are working on plant-based products, others are using lab-grown fish cells. To replicate the texture of actual salmon, Revo Foods’ 3D printer blends “mycoprotein” created from mushroom roots with plant-based lipids.
In recent years, investors have invested upwards of $400 million in the firms producing alternative seafood, including $7 million in Revo Foods. But as of yet, no company is producing it in great quantities. The biggest unknown is whether or not people will buy it.
Simsa said that vegan salmon from Revo Foods has been selling out within hours of hitting shop shelves over the past few weeks. However, many of the remarks under a promotional YouTube video were critical of the high cost and the concept of printing food.
The vegan salmon from Revo Foods weighs 130 grammes, or about 4 12 ounces, and costs 7 euros, or around $7.
Simsa predicted that if Revo Foods increases production and automates more non-3D printing aspects of the process, the price will decrease. Although he acknowledged that the technology has some sceptics, he claimed that it is comparable to other industrial machinery that is already used to produce chocolate and snacks. 3D-printed pasta is already available from Barilla.
The sustainability angle is another.
Salmon is one of the healthiest foods available, and fish in general have a lower carbon footprint than beef, which is known to be a major source of the climate catastrophe due to the methane emissions from cattle and the enormous amount of land needed to raise them.
The UN estimates that almost one-third of the world’s fish populations are overfished. Additionally, a significant source of the ocean microplastics—which, according to scientists, are rapidly turning up in humans—is fishing nets.
“Ultimately, people want to be excited about a product. We have to capture their imaginations,” Christopher Bryson, the CEO of New School Foods, told Insider. His startup is developing its own plant-based whole salmon filet using a novel freezing technology and has raised $12 million.
“If people made decisions based on health and the planet, we’d all already only be eating tofu,” Bryson said.